Civilisations

Start exploring

The world around us

Paintings and photographs of the landscapes that surround us are rarely just realistic depictions of what the eye sees. They also reveal the dreams, fears and aspirations of the artists who created them.

10th Century

The world around us

A Solitary Temple Amid Clearing Peaks - Li Cheng

The Chinese tradition of landscape painting first blossomed after a prolonged period of anarchy and chaos. Li Cheng’s ink and brush painting offers a glimpse of a better world.

1836

The world around us

The Course of Empire - Thomas Cole

An intriguing variation on the genre, Thomas Cole’s set of five paintings tell an allegory of the ‘progress’ of American civilisation through the medium of landscape.

20th Century

The world around us

Yosemite, photographed by Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams first visited the US national park Yosemite to recuperate from an illness but soon became obsessed with photographing its rugged landscapes. In later years he became a father figure of the environmentalist movement.