When Denis Villeneuve was introduced because the director of the newest cinematic adaptation of Dune, few might have objected on aesthetic grounds. The blasted sand planet of Arrakis, with its storms and worms, calls for a way of the elegant; to a singular diploma amongst filmmakers working right this moment, the auteur behind Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 appeared to own it. Although lengthy since vulgarized to imply little greater than “extremely satisfying,” elegant has traditionally denoted a richer, extra advanced set of qualities. The elegant could be stunning, however it should even be ultimately fearsome, possessed of “a greatness past all risk of calculation, measurement, or imitation.”
That quote comes straight from the Wikipedia web page on “Elegant (philosophy),” which additionally prominently options Caspar David Friedrich’s portray Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer, or Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. Accomplished round 1818, it has change into a well-known picture even to those that know nothing of Friedrich’s work — work to which they will obtain an introduction from the brand new video above by Evan Puschak, higher referred to as the Nerdwriter.
Friedrich, he explains, was “related to German Romanticism, a rising mental and creative motion” of the late 18th and early nineteenth centuries “that sought to reconnect humanity with feeling and spirituality” after the Enlightenment so destabilized humanity’s Weltanschauung.
Friedrich’s landscapes, realistically painted if not essentially devoted to actual locations, “symbolize the top of this motion.” They do that by conveying “the sensation he has within the presence of the panorama, the staggering encounter with the divinity he sees in it. That is the essence of the elegant,” which took on particular urgency in an period “when secularism was threatening the core of Christianity.” Greater than faith, the Romantics thus started to treat nature as superior (within the authentic sense), humbling themselves earlier than the greatness of landscapes actual and imagined. The wanderer looming above the ocean of fog is definitely an exception in Friedrich’s work, most of whose human figures are sufficiently small to emphasise “the vastness of the terrain” — a sublime-evoking approach that we will nonetheless really feel working two centuries later, Puschak factors out, in Villeneuve’s Dune.
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Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and tradition. His initiatives embody the ebook The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Comply with him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Faceboookay.