In her discussion of Franz Post’s A Brazilian Landscape (1650),
Julie Hochstrasser provides a fresh
perspective on landscape painting that diverges from the way art history has traditionally understood and
interpreted it. Among other things, she emphasizes what the beauty of the natural landscape hides in terms of
human suffering, and she ties the meaning of A Brazilian Landscape directly to the political and colonial
ambitions of the Dutch in Brazil at the time. Throughout the European landscape tradition, an image of a
beautiful, untouched wilderness was often presented as ripe and ready for Euro-American colonial or industrial
exploitation. Write an essay that draws on these ideas to analyze a work of art or landscape design. Try to
think about what is included and what is not included in the artwork, and how these choices affect the meaning
of the work. If humans are included, think about how they’re presented and how they relate to the natural
features in the composition. Do they dominate the landscape, or are they presented as part of the nature itself?
Is nature friendly, hostile, or indifferent? What is the political and historical context of the work, and how does
the landscape present certain ideas of power that benefit one group or another?
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