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John Ruskin and the Romantic movement, put a name on the concept “pathetic fallacy”, which means that human feelings are projected onto non-human objects, like for example a tree.

One known example of “pathetic fallacy” is Johan Christian Claussen Dahl’s Birch in a Storm from 1849, depicting a birch tree hanging on for dear life to the steep cliff where it grows.

Johan Christian Claussen Dahl: Birch in a Storm, 1849

There are more empathic trees within Romanticism. Mondrian paints trees like “cosmic mirrors of an organic vitality, so powerful, that it can change roots, stem, branches into a vibrating web in a transitory state between spirit and matter”.

Mondrian

Links

Pathetic Fallacy in the Nineteenth Century 

The Pathetic Fallacy: A Lecture Delivered at the Library of Congress on May 7, 1

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