In Nature’s Temple Takes Over Thacher Gallery

The naturalist of “Muir Woods” is being celebrated in the Thacher Gallery until December 

     The new exhibit, In Nature’s Temple: Early California Art and Ecology, is currently on display at Thacher Gallery in Gleeson Library. The pieces celebrate the ideas of John Muir, accompanied by the visual works of William Keith, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins. This presentation regards Yosemite’s prominence in American art and environmental movements. Its aim is to showcase the innovative work of these four men and the awareness they raised for Western conservation.

In Nature’s Temple features the writings of John Muir, accompanied by the landscape art pieces  of William Keith, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins. (Photo: Emily Bockian)
In Nature’s Temple features the writings of John Muir, accompanied by the landscape art pieces of William Keith, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins. (Photo: Emily Bockian)

John Muir lived in Yosemite. There, he met William Keith, an established panoramic landscape artist, as well as photographers Carleton Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge. Keith’s paintings epitomize the natural beauty of the valley, and have inspired many of Muir’s writings. In order to capture Yosemite properly, Muir believed one had to devote a significant amount of time to observing it, as Keith did. As a result, Muir rejected the works of other artists and photographers who only made short-term commitments: “Time is required to take it in and digest it,” he extrapolated, “or else, the inevitable result with be artistic dyspepsia.”

Keith’s paintings demonstrate the beauty of Yosemite so well that Muir carried one during a presentation in front of Congress. Their conjoined efforts eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service.

The exhibit runs until Dec. 13, with guided tours on Thursdays at noon. Also, don’t miss a talk with the curator, Thomas Lucas – along with historian, writer, and USF alumni, Kevin Starr – on Monday, Oct. 9, at 2:30ßp.m. in McLaren 250. A reception will follow in Thacher Gallery.

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