Landskapets röster : Studier i Elias Martins bildvärld

Sammanfattning: This thesis is about the Swedish landscape painter Elias Martin (1739-1818). The main interest is in his depictions of nature, landscape images and topographical views. Chronologically, it covers the period 1760 to 1810. The first part puts Martin's artistic achievement in a historiographic perspective and presents an overview of his artistic career - from his birthplace Stockholm to Paris and from there to London, where he successfully established himself on the English art scene in the 1770s. Returning to his native Sweden in 1780, he soon emerged as the country's leading landscapist of the period. In the second part of the thesis, a study is presented of Martin's relationship to the art markets of England and Sweden, and in the third an attempt is made, through the medium of a specific genre of Swedish eighteenth-century literature - travel writings - to gain a deeper insight into the attitudes and values of the period. Here, the focus of interest is on different ways of viewing nature and landscape art in Sweden in the late eighteenth century. On the basis of this discussion, an attempt is made to reconstruct a Swedish 'period eye', specific to the upper-class culture of the Gustavian age. These discussions of the importance of the market and of a Swedish period eye form the basis for an answer to the overarching question of this thesis, concerning the relationship between Martin's images and contemporary perceptions of nature. From the conclusions drawn, it becomes clear that different ways of relating to landscape existed side by side. The attitudes discernible in the artist's pictures, as in the travel writings of the period, are diverse and contradictory, complicating an understanding of the eighteenth century's view of nature as something uniform. Elias Martin's art thus illuminates the many vantage points and variations in the Gustavian era's feeling for nature.

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