Until the 19th century, nature in art was usually, if present at all, merely the in background of portraits. History and human beings were considered the true, fitting subjects of art. However, as nature began to retreat from everyday life with the rise of technology, artists began to look on nature as a source of inspiration. As nature became rarer, artists gave nature more significance and importance -- nature became more symbolically significant, even as 'real' nature was being overrun by factories, cities, and railroads. Rather than something to be tamed, nature was now something precious. But although human beings may not be present in all Romantic depictions of nature, human thoughts about nature clearly are -- an artist always paints his or her own point-of-view, not a literal representation of nature. Even in the most realistic depictions of nature, the artist is always selective in what...
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