Victoria Colaruotolo

Oct 11, 2020

4 min read

Week 7 — Art Idea Essay — The Art of Place

A place can be unique to everyone. It can be a beach, a home, a town, or just a point in space. It can also bring a sense of emotion, such as comforting, sadness, or energizing. Place can effect lives in a negative or positive way and can bring a sense of belonging.

When given the topic of place, the artists William Merritt Chase, Maynard Dixon, and philanthropist/philosopher John Ruskin came to mind. William Merritt Chase’s landscape oil paintings provides a great sense of place, outdoors. Early in his life, he grew up in a small town, however when he started his journey and moved to the big state of New York, it changed his life. He was able to paint in larger parks, compared to his home town, and was able to capture the sense freedom in his work. In his 1894 oil painting called Idle Hours, it consist of a family relaxing at the marshy beach side. He truly captures the sense of place by providing his emotion through the piece. When looking at the painting, a sense of warmth and freedom is shown. Other works such as At the Seaside or First Touch of Autumn are both great example of capturing a place that is open and gives the sense of freedom/relaxation. Maynard Dixon’s is another painter that captures the outdoors as a sense of place. Dixon grew up on a farm, so he was very familiar with wide open spaces. Later in his career he decided to travel and capture art through other places of land. In his oil painting The Cloud Coachella Valley, he is trying to see the land through the Native peoples’ eyes and is not only able to capture the brightness of the day, but the vast openness it has. In other works, such as Old Patio, he wants to tell a story between the land and its people. In this 1931 oil painting, he paints a settler home and captures the beautiful day behind it; he also uses bright colors to show his happiness through the painting. Artists aren’t the only types of people that can express the art of place. Philanthropist/philosopher John Ruskin studied and painted on his free time. On his second year of art travels, he went to Italy and observed places and painted them. He claimed that his true inspiration was from the place that was in front of him. In 1846, he published his book Modern Painters II which contained his critique on other artists works. He stated in his book that the landscape art of Venice depicted a depressed and old place where he simply didn’t want to go anymore and realized that not all places can stay beautiful. The idea of a place, represented in art, can leave an impression which can be demonstrated in an emotional response.

A place doesn’t always refer to as an outside environment, they can be many things. A place common to someone is home. A home is where they spend most of their lives and isn’t always referred to as a house, but it can be a town or even a state. America is a place often thought about, especially in today society and election year. In the 1990’s many people thought that the year 2020 would bring us flying cars and technological advanced material, however it has only brought people trials. With the Corona Virus at large, the only adaption people can to do is stay in their homes and try to be safe. This is difficult for a large number of America’s population because they are unemployed or don’t have jobs. Others have found a place in their homes where they can do work, while others have found a place to find work. The only solution to fix our place is a vaccine; the virus isn’t going to go away by itself. During the long quarantine year of 2020, people haven’t been able to go or explore places. We have been secluded to one place and that is our home.

A place does not always stay the same. Our country has changed drastically over the last 20 years and not all of it for good. During the 2020 quarantine, people were confronted with a deadly virus and many trials in life. They were stuck with finding a new place and a new “normal”. After the working vaccines and the COVID-19 count decreasing, people will fall into their old “normal” routine and find the places that they missed. People will eventually fill the places that they haven’t been to in months and be able to explore and find new places to enjoy. In 2024 America will be the beautiful country it is suppose to be. Completely back to the nations “normal” and everyone is able to travel to places they want without judgement of wearing a mask. The technology will also begin to look futuristic as well as the cars. In 2050, I believe that virtual realities will be more life like and people will be able to explore new places from their homes. I also believe that the place we call home, America, will still be the diverse country it is today.

Works Cited

“John Ruskin.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2020,

“Maynard Dixon: Biography.” Maynard Dixon (1875–1946),

Staff, Artists Network. “Capturing a Sense of Place–What Does It Mean To You?” Artists

Network, 20 Oct. 2011,