The Productive Nature of Landscape in Schelling’s Philosophy of Art
When we see a painting, we grasp a material painted on a canvas, but also something spiritual. A landscape painting, depicting nature and scenery, represents not only existing natural things but also the enormous power of nature independent of human beings; it represents, also, the productivity of nature. Schelling uses productive nature as his model, and as the spring of an artist’s creativity, in his Munich speech titled On the Relation of the Plastic Arts to Nature (1807). According to Schelling, artists should represent productive nature, the “spirit of nature” (Naturgeist), in their artworks (SW VII: 301). This speech was influential in making landscape paintings a significant genre of art by clarifying the relationship between art and nature.