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You can’t spell “Earth” without “ART”

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French painter Francois Boucher famously proclaimed that “Nature is too green and badly lit.” Either Francois was having a bad trip or he needed some glasses, ‘cause there’s really nothing better than fresh air and a canvas. 

Today is Earth Day, and in honor of the occasion we’re doing a good old-fashioned Sartle roundup of art that truly paints a picture (ha puns) of how rad our planet is. From the grandeur of Yosemite to the humble familiarity of a cow pasture, these five pieces bring out the best of the natural world and remind us of the importance of environmental stewardship in the face of a changing climate“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only home.” -Wendell Berry

With that in mind, let the roundup begin!

1. Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California, 1865 by Albert Bierstadt at the Birmingham Museum of Art 

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You really can’t have an art-with-nature roundup without paying homage to Yosemite. A year before Albert Bierstadt released this painting, Yosemite Valley became the first expanse of land to be officially protected by the federal government. Critics at the time called this painting too theatrical, but they’d clearly never seen Yosemite in person (No lies, it’s really this stunning).

2. Wood Line by Andy Goldsworthy at the Presidio of San Francisco

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Goldsworthy is Mother Nature’s ultimate mama’s boy, intentionally designing his pieces to draw upon the existing beauty of the landscape as they slowly decay into it. Wood Line serves as an homage to the Eucalyptus grove just down the street from the Sartle office at the Presidio of San Francisco, which is speculated to be the oldest footpath in the city.

3. Ploughing in the Nevers by Rosa Bonheur at the d'Orsay Museum 

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For much of the world, nature and agriculture are synonymous. Those rolling green hills, the richness of the manure-laden soil, the big trundling moo-moos… pastoral temptation for city-dwellers everywhere. 

4. The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, so we had to throw in this iconic piece by Katsushika Hokusai. There’s also the added bonus of Mt. Fuji in the background, along with some totally classic dynamics at play on the man vs. nature front. When he wasn’t making woodblock prints of waves, Hokusai was involved in some pretty risqué tentacle porn. But it’s all natural… right?

5. Black Iris by Georgia O'Keeffe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Mother Earth definitely made flowers look like this on purpose. There’s really nothing like the soft lines and folds of a delicate… iris. Georgia O’Keeffe insisted that there was no symbolic female anatomy in her paintings, but we insist otherwise. Life is nature and life is vaginas, and that’s that.

To close, a few words from the real king of nature painting:

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Thanks, Bob Ross. We love you.

If you’re still hankering for more nature art, click here.

xoxo, Louisa

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Louisa Dewey

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