Contemporary Picturesque

ImageFoster + Partners – Apple Headquarters in Cupertino

While the origins of the picturesque date back to 17th Century landscape painter Claude Lorrain, the method continues today through the framed views of architectural renderings.  Ultimately, these renderings are meant to contain an experiential quality that transports a viewer into the scene, but many become washed down with false realities in favor of fantasy.  Take for instance the above rendering of Foster & Partners Apple Headquarters.  Here the scene is devoid of any “imperfections”, such as airplanes overhead, unclean air, animals, etc.  Truthfully, over time the style of picturesque hasn’t seen much development in terms of theory; use the landscape as a framework to portray what you want and leave out anything that doesn’t fit.  In striving for perfection with a non-temporal depiction of a temporal environment, there is actually a loss of perfection because this simply produces a picture of what nature might be “like”.  Through occupying the realm between the beautiful and the sublime, picturesque truly could be taken for an ‘ideal’ view, and in that light makes perfect sense as the candidate for representation of architectural renderings.  


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