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Samuel Palmer, John Martin, and John Sell Cotman

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Visions of Paradise in the Eye of the Beholder?

image of Religion and the Arts

This article considers how a viewer identifies spiritual meaning in landscape images of the Romantic era as well as the role of artists’ statements about their work in a viewer’s interpretive process. It examines landscapes by Samuel Palmer and John Martin, two early nineteenth-century British artists known for the spiritual content of their work, and the connection between the work and their published statements about it. The article also considers the “secular” landscapes by their contemporary John Sell Cotman for the work’s possible spiritual meaning despite the absence of published comments by the artist on the subject.

Affiliations: 1: Denver Art Museum


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