Moss: a Closer Look at This Humble Plant and Its Place Within the Historical Context of Landscape Painting, Considering Its Ecological Significance With Reflections on Nature and Balance


The subject of landscape painting was largely overlooked for centuries in Western art. When the Renaissance artists rediscovered the beauty of natural forms, some painters expanded the bodies of their work to include the landscape. Nature was viewed very differently in China and Japan. Images from nature have special meaning to the Oriental artist, who sees in their simple, flowing rhythms the key that unlocks the Tao and brings to the surface the inner workings of tranquility. A harmony with the ebbs and flows of the forces of nature serve to inspire both the hand holding a paintbrush and the other hand writing a poem.

Many landscape paintings feature the drama of the mountains or serve as a backdrop to human activity. Rare are the European or American painters who look past the majestic expanse of sky to focus their attention on the less impressive denizens of the swamp. It is in the moist, out of the way places that we come across the unassuming plant called moss.

The purpose of this work is to cast a little more light on the value of moss and its habitat as a landscape subject. It is also important to consider how the qualities we observe in moss can inspire contemplation in us. An appreciation for moss may result in an increased awareness and respect for its ecological environment. I have sought to present moss as a landscape subject through the media of oil painting, etching and ceramic sculpture. Like the art pieces, the poems are personal responses to the ever moving particulars of nature and the drive for a cohesive framework that gives the particulars meaning.


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Thesis Completion





Sittler, Rebecca


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Liberal Studies


Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences; Mosses; Mosses -- Ecology; Plants in art







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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