Art and Our Relationship to the Environment: Images from the State Capitol

Walk into the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda and look up.

Civilization of the Northwest, part 1
Civilization of the Northwest, part 1: Hope and Wisdom

This is one of four paintings you will see. We’ve written a fair amount in this blog about the Capitol art and how it portrays American Indians and early Minnesota history. We now turn to a related theme, looking at art with a strong message about our relationship to the environment.

The four rotunda paintingsĀ  collectively are called “The Civilization of the Northwest.” (At one point, the Minnesota Territory represented the Northwestern part of the United States, hence the name.) In contrast to the Native American concept of Mother Earth as a relative, these images paint a picture of the earth as a resource to be cultivated and the environment as something to be controlled. Continue reading