“The Nationalist Garden and the Holy Book” by Barbara Novak


 What is Novak attempting to express in her opening paragraphs where she depicts the way that “nature,” “God,” “revelation,” and the “nation” were becoming entangled (123) in American society during the first half of the 19th century prior to the Civil War?

How do the ideas of “wilderness,” “garden” (note the two concepts of the "garden"!), “fall,” and “regained paradise” (124) relate to these larger themes?  How do they find expression in painting?  (124-5)

What does the notion of the “sublime” (127) have to do with revelation and painting?  How does landscape painting come to serve religious and nationalist purposes?  How was art expected to contribute to the pressures that science was placing on Christianity?  (127) Why is the role of the artist is so special? (127-128)

How does the development of images in Cole’s series of paintings, The Course of Empire, contribute to the moral significance of early 19th century painting?  (128f) Please check the images (see link above).

How does the process of landscape painting that captures the divine face of nature contribute to an appreciation of the consciousness of the nation?  (131f)

What does it mean to say that the national consciousness during the first half of the 19th century identified America’s destiny with the American landscape? (131)  How are these landscape painters rightfully called the leaders of the national flock? (132) What was the ideal that "natural" or rural America was identified with? Do you understand more clearly the epigram from Locke at the beginning of this essay now that you have grappled with some of its claims?  Explain.

What relationship does this have to Step 2 of Bonaventure's vision, to the Franciscan interpretation of nature, or to the intellectual journey?