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The Symbolism of Habitat - An Interpretation of Landscape in the Arts
The Symbolism of Habitat - An Interpretation of Landscape in the Arts
Appleton, Jay

When architects create a landscape or building, when artists depict a landscape, and when poets write of nature, they recreate certain aesthetic elements observed in nature. Jay Appleton asserts in an insightful analysis that these aeshtetic values in landscape are not found in an elevated philosophy of aesthetics or in a culturally bound artistic symbolism but in the biological and behavioural needs that we share with other animals. Thus, the aesthetics of landscape may be approached through other areas of human experience and science, especially the natural and behavioural sciences. They are expressed in symbolism drawn from a primal habitat in which all animals seek survival.
The symbolism we consciously recognize in the arts is of a purposeful religious, mythological, or other cultural specific type. But in the landscape that lies beyond, behind and around the human, animal or artifactual subjects exists another symbolism. Appleton believes we should consider the possibility of a natural symbolism representing elements that are crucial to survival in the habitat of living creatures. We need no special education or cultural conditioning to appreciate these symbols, because they speak to our basic biological and behavioural needs.
The results are intriguing for anyone interested in landscape design, architecture, and the philosophy of aesthetics, not to mention all who have been moved by a painter's landscape or by a nature poem.

University of Washington Press, 1990. 113pages. Some shelf wear to cloth boards. DW covered in mylar. Previous owner's name written on the end page.

Second hand Hardback