Tamara Ketabgian's class works in the Wright Museum of Art.
This semester, students in Tamara Ketabgian’s :”Green Romanticism” class have used visual art from the Wright Museum to cast new light on British poetry, prose, and scientific writing from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Combining English and Environmental studies, this interdisciplinary class is curating an exhibit on Romantic and post-Romantic concepts of nature, the nonhuman, landscape, and time. The exhibit asks, what did the Romantics mean by “nature,” and how has their worldview influenced environmental thinking today? Romantic art and literature appear at the advent of a new urban and industrial era--what we today recognize as the Anthropocene. The exhibit considers how the Romantics and their inheritors re-envisioned the natural world both as under threat and as a value in and of itself--as something sublime, beautiful, strange, and sometimes confusing.
While the exhibit includes many works from the Wright’s permanent collection, it also includes several substantial new acquisitions. Four illustrations by Gustav Doré for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and two mezzotints by well-known printmakers after paintings by J.M.W. Turner are among these recently acquired. The exhibit also includes a beautifully illustrated edition of Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne, a pathbreaking work of early ecology that influenced many later artists, poets, and scientists, including Charles Darwin.
A reception and brief gallery talk will celebrate the opening of “Green Romanticism: Nature and the Nonhuman” on Wednesday, March 22, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Wright Museum of Art. All are welcome; refreshments will be served.