The Enigma of Cader Idris
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The paper traced the visual artistic representation of one geographical location, in relation to the changing cultural and sociological changes from the 18th Century to the present. The Welsh painter Richard Wilson’s (1714 –1782) seminal painting of the North Wales mountain Cader Idris (1765), sparked controversy within the artistic community at the time for breaking away from the classical tradition of Claude Lorraine (1600 – 1682) which was still finding favour among artists and their patrons. The location subsequently became an icon of landscape representation. The paper traced and discussed many of these images and sought to explain how, with changes in style, technology and audience, one location can maintain and hold interest and viability as a vehicle for the communication of ideas around the landscape. Comparisons were made between the various styles noting how the early photographers made use of the stylistic conventions of the painting tradition then later using the intrinsic qualities of their own medium. By tracing from contemporary images of the mountain, including my own, a timeline of the depiction of Cader Idris and its environs was traced back to Wilson, pinpointing his vision of this one location as a turning point in the representation of the landscape. The paper was accepted due to its investigation of an aspect of 'Welsh Culture and Identity', which is an important theme explored by the North American Association within its research and conferences. It provided evidence that Wales and its landscape, and maybe more importantly, as represented by a Welshman, (Wilson), was a significant event in Welsh culture and history. In relation to my ongoing visual research through my landscape work, it provided a framework and a rationale for exploring one geographic area to express contemporary visual ideas around the managed landscape by referring to history, culture and archaeology.
Fourth North American Conference on Welsh Studies, pp.
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