Date of Award
University Scholars Director
Dr. Jeff Keuss
First Advisor/Committee Member
Professor Laura Lasworth
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Dr. Katie Kresser
Romantic Sublime Landscape Paintings, Wenrenhua, Chinese Literati painting, artistic influence, artistic intuition, Christianity
Sublime beauty quiets our turmoil and captivates our whole being. In nature, one of God’s most beautiful masterpieces, I experience the sublime. Even when I experience pain, the beauty in nature draws my heart to God and gives me faith in His omnipotence and love. For this project, I have created several paintings that portray my experience in nature as a metaphor for my journey of faith in God. My intent is that by using sublime beauty to portray my own journey of faith, my paintings will lead viewers to contemplate their own journey, however different it may be from mine.
The style and content of my series of paintings shares characteristics with the “sublime” and the “beautiful,” two opposite concepts developed by Edmund Burke. The sublime strikes the human soul with awe and dark terror, while the beautiful is full of light and gives pleasure to the soul (Burke). I combine these two opposing concepts to portray my experience of faith, creating my own unique style called the “beautiful sublime.” I portray sublime beauty by using similar techniques as artists of the Romantic sublime and by using characteristics of traditional Chinese watercolor paintings. However, I abandon the Romantic artists’ tendency to portray dark terror, and instead focus on portraying awesome beauty. Unlike the artwork of the Romantic sublime, and unlike Chinese art, I implement in my artwork a theme of faith in God by portraying sublime beauty in nature.
Chaffee, Carolyn Hu, "Faith and the Sublime" (2016). Honors Projects. 54.