The Sublime

‘Whatever is in any sort terrible or is conversant about terrible objects or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime’. This terror, as defined by Edmund Burke in his 1757 essay A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, is what humans feel when faced with greatness beyond measurement. The power of a thunderstorm, a mountain range of inexpressible size, and of course, the existential epiphany of our spiritual insignificance in the vast sweep of the universe.  

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A Dream of Italy

Robert S. Duncanson, 1855

A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie

Albert Bierstadt, 1866

Cotopaxi

Frederic Edwin Church, 1862

Lake George Reflection

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1921-1922

Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California

Albert Bierstadt, 1865

Mount Corcoran

Albert Bierstadt, 1876-1877

The Voyage of Life: Childhood

Thomas Cole, 1842
More Themes in Art

Death in Art

Life's only guarantee

Art Theory

Artists unpacking the nature of art

The Nude in Art

Getting out the skin

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