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The Art of the Sublime

Date: 17/01/2013

The unrivalled level of grandeur or greatness, whether it is physical, intellectual, artistic or spiritual – the Sublime. The Tate Research Centre: British Romantic Arts major research project ‘The Sublime Object: Nature, Art, Language’ endeavoured to achieve a greater understanding of the ways in which perceptions of the sublime in the external landscape are shaped by cultural experiences. Instead of imposing the concept of the sublime on audiences, the project examines whether the sublime remains a legitimate and potent concept in the modern world. On Thursday 17th January the Tate Britain is holding an event which marks the publication of the activities and outcomes of this three year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project allowing free public access via the internet.

The new project site called ‘The Art of the Sublime’ will include essays, conference papers, artist interviews and specially made short films of landscapes with sublime connotations. The project focused on four key areas which relate to Tate’s remit in historic, modern and contemporary art. These include:

  • The landscape sublime
  • The sublime in crisis
  • An Anglo-American sublime
  • An Ecological sublime

The project explores multiple disciplines, examining art, literature, ideas communicated through history, philosophy, poetry, politics and religion to achieve its goal. The concept of the sublime in the UK had developed in the 18th century as an aesthetic quality in nature, which is distinct from the concept of beauty.

The project was commissioned under the Arts and Humanities Research Councils ‘Landscape and Environment’ strategic programme led by Professor Stephen Daniels. The project culminated in a major display and exhibition at Tate Britain. ‘The Art of the Sublime’ site will now allow interested parties to access the collection in the future.

The event is also celebrates the publication of the J.M.W. Turner collection for public access as the artist left his works to the nation in his will. Links for both project sites are listed below.

‘The Art of the Sublime’

‘J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours' 


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