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Nature and its "Others": An Anthropological Reading of Claude Lorrain's Port Scenes

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Abstract:

The concept of nature, like most concepts in Western thought, is constructed and qualified through binary oppositions. Nowadays we would tend to oppose "nature" and "culture", but as the anthropologist Philippe Descola has recently shown, this dichotomy is rather recent and specific to Western modernity. Indeed, in earlier times we can think of other antonyms to nature, such as "artifice"; and perhaps the whole opposition is inapplicable to the seventeenth-century mindset.
Claude Lorrain's port scenes are a (visual) case in point. Ports are, after all, interfaces between the emblematically natural space, the wild, dangerous, infinite, untamed sea, and human civilization proud of its technological prowess. Claude's harbors are indeed structured as binary spaces, with nature and man-made architecture facing each other. However, this series of paintings subtly subvert the dichotomy and thus problematizes the issue of nature and its "others" in an exhilarating way.
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Name: RSA Annual Meeting
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http://www.rsa.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481761_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sapir, Itay. "Nature and its "Others": An Anthropological Reading of Claude Lorrain's Port Scenes" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481761_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sapir, I. "Nature and its "Others": An Anthropological Reading of Claude Lorrain's Port Scenes" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the RSA Annual Meeting, Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel, Montreal, Quebec Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p481761_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The concept of nature, like most concepts in Western thought, is constructed and qualified through binary oppositions. Nowadays we would tend to oppose "nature" and "culture", but as the anthropologist Philippe Descola has recently shown, this dichotomy is rather recent and specific to Western modernity. Indeed, in earlier times we can think of other antonyms to nature, such as "artifice"; and perhaps the whole opposition is inapplicable to the seventeenth-century mindset.
Claude Lorrain's port scenes are a (visual) case in point. Ports are, after all, interfaces between the emblematically natural space, the wild, dangerous, infinite, untamed sea, and human civilization proud of its technological prowess. Claude's harbors are indeed structured as binary spaces, with nature and man-made architecture facing each other. However, this series of paintings subtly subvert the dichotomy and thus problematizes the issue of nature and its "others" in an exhilarating way.


Similar Titles:
Johannes Swammerdam, Natural History, and a New Reading of the Book of Nature

States of Nature: Political theory Meets Anthropology

Kepler’s Hermeneutics: Reading the Book of Nature versus Reading the Book of God


 
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