The transforming influence of human beings on their environment is captured by artists at different moments in the history of each country. A basic similarity can be seen in the desire to record changes for posterity, while differences occur in the specific interests and needs pursued by each culture. Cultural currents left their mark on landscape painting: the discovery of the ancient pyramids in the 19th century led to the practice of painters accompanying archeological expeditions, and the urban image began to be developed as a symbol of progress. The modernizing trends which saw the subjection of nature to the machine gave rise to a double-sided artistic view: on the one hand, works which extolled the benefits of such modernization; on the other, works which focussed on its destructive aspects.
The transforming influence of human beings on their environment is captured by artists at different moments in the history of each country. A basic similarity can be seen in the desire to record changes for posterity, while differences occur in the specific interests and needs pursued by each culture. Cultural currents left their mark on landscape painting: the discovery of the ancient pyramids in the 19th century led to the practice of painters accompanying archeological expeditions, and the urban image began to be developed as a symbol of progress. The modernizing trends which saw the subjection of nature to the machine gave rise to a double-sided artistic view: on the one hand, works which extolled the benefits of such modernization; on the other, works which focussed on its destructive aspects.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

El Valle de México desde el Cerro del Tenayo

El Valle de México desde el Cerro del Tenayo (The Valley of Mexico from Tenayo Hill)

Eugenio Landesio (1810 - 1879)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
c. 1870
MEXICO
oil on canvas
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


To the north of Mexico City rises Tenayo Hill, from where Eugenio Landesio could look out over the volcanoes and mountains surrounding the Mexico City valley basin. A road joins the small village with Mexico City as it was then. To the south, a rainstorm is falling over the hills surrounding the Ajusco. In his treatise on perspective, Landesio defined the different types of landscape painting for his pupils, and practice with scenes with this kind of wide-view perspective showed them how to apply theory in practice.
To the north of Mexico City rises Tenayo Hill, from where Eugenio Landesio could look out over the volcanoes and mountains surrounding the Mexico City valley basin. A road joins the small village with Mexico City as it was then. To the south, a rainstorm is falling over the hills surrounding the Ajusco. In his treatise on perspective, Landesio defined the different types of landscape painting for his pupils, and practice with scenes with this kind of wide-view perspective showed them how to apply theory in practice.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Pirámide de la Luna con yuca

Pirámide de la Luna con yuca (Pyramid of the Moon with Yucca Tree)

Hugo Brehme (1882 - 1954)
Sistema Nacional de Fototecas of INAH. Fototeca de Pachuca
1910 - 1920
MEXICO
photograph on paper
21.00 X 15.00 cm
© Sistema Nacional de Fototecas of INAH. Fototeca de Pachuca


The fashion of the snapshot arrived in Mexico in 1901, making it easy for archeologists to take study photographs. In the cold light of the precise demythologizing view of the archeologist, the romantic aura of the ruins vanished. As the new century progressed, the pyramid was cleaned of the vegetation which had covered it during the 19th century as we see in José María Velasco's paintings. Hugo Brehme, an untiring foot traveller, arrived in Mexico in 1910 and on a visit to Teotihuacan brought together in a single picture the pyramid and the prickly pear as a record of the essence of Mexico. One current in Mexican photography took up the landscape as a natural genre, a nationalist trend which intertwines and fuses with the promotion of national tourism.
The fashion of the snapshot arrived in Mexico in 1901, making it easy for archeologists to take study photographs. In the cold light of the precise demythologizing view of the archeologist, the romantic aura of the ruins vanished. As the new century progressed, the pyramid was cleaned of the vegetation which had covered it during the 19th century as we see in José María Velasco's paintings. Hugo Brehme, an untiring foot traveller, arrived in Mexico in 1910 and on a visit to Teotihuacan brought together in a single picture the pyramid and the prickly pear as a record of the essence of Mexico. One current in Mexican photography took up the landscape as a natural genre, a nationalist trend which intertwines and fuses with the promotion of national tourism.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

La Nube

La Nube (The Cloud)

Gerardo Murillo. Dr. Atl (1875 - 1964)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1931
MEXICO
oil and atlcolour on jute
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


Standing apart from the group of painters who strove in deliberate fashion to create a "national art", Dr. Atl is one of the few painters who, from the thirties on, practiced the landscape genre as a central part of his production. His works are in harmony with 19th-century tradition in their predilection for panoramic views and their representation of distance, but their main interest consisted in their synthetic and emphatic treatment of form, since Atl's work is still governed by the Romantic conception, of Symbolist ilk, of the landscape as a state of mind.
Standing apart from the group of painters who strove in deliberate fashion to create a "national art", Dr. Atl is one of the few painters who, from the thirties on, practiced the landscape genre as a central part of his production. His works are in harmony with 19th-century tradition in their predilection for panoramic views and their representation of distance, but their main interest consisted in their synthetic and emphatic treatment of form, since Atl's work is still governed by the Romantic conception, of Symbolist ilk, of the landscape as a state of mind.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Pirámide del Sol

Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun)

José María Velasco (1840 - 1912)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1878
MEXICO
oil on canvas
29.00 X 44.00 cm
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


José María Velasco arrived at sites with brushes and canvas to do compositions which he would later flesh out in his study in a larger format. Gumersindo Mendoza organized an expedition in March, 1878 with the professors of the institution, and Velasco went along as a draughtsman. In the painting the position of the Pyramid of the Sun is emphasized, while the rest of the site remains covered, except for the Causeway of the Dead crossing the fields.
José María Velasco arrived at sites with brushes and canvas to do compositions which he would later flesh out in his study in a larger format. Gumersindo Mendoza organized an expedition in March, 1878 with the professors of the institution, and Velasco went along as a draughtsman. In the painting the position of the Pyramid of the Sun is emphasized, while the rest of the site remains covered, except for the Causeway of the Dead crossing the fields.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Lab-ná

Lab-ná (Labná)

Gunther Gerzso (1915 - 2000)
Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil. INBA. CONACULTA
1959
MEXICO
oil on canvas
© Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil. INBA. CONACULTA


For Gunther Gerzso it was difficult to sustain an artistic sensibility and not to tackle the genre of landscape painting in Mexico. From his various trips across the country, he retained the legacy of the Mayan region in its embodiment of the sacred. The basis of Gerzso's painting is not representation but signification. In his painting he was able to establish a dialogue with pre-Hispanic art from a modern perspective. At the centre of his work there is a system of allusions to the rituals of silence.
For Gunther Gerzso it was difficult to sustain an artistic sensibility and not to tackle the genre of landscape painting in Mexico. From his various trips across the country, he retained the legacy of the Mayan region in its embodiment of the sacred. The basis of Gerzso's painting is not representation but signification. In his painting he was able to establish a dialogue with pre-Hispanic art from a modern perspective. At the centre of his work there is a system of allusions to the rituals of silence.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Be conscious of the emotional impact that is caused and shaped by a work of art
  • Recognize that a work of art is influenced by the artist’s choice of medium, the time, and the culture
  • Recognize that art can inform us about the history of a culture and its land
  • Be aware of the commonality of themes in landscape art among the three North American countries"

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