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When the mountains became the subject of art


The Alps – as well as other mountain ranges – were first regarded as aesthetically appealing and “noble” during the course of the 18th century. Caspar Wolf – who was born in Muri in the canton of Aargau in 1735 and died in Heidelberg in 1783 – was one of the first people not only to document the largely undeveloped mountain regions but also to portray them artistically. He idealised the ­alpine landscape through dramatic lighting and unusual perspectives, such as from caves. The Museum of Fine Arts in Basel is holding an impressive exhibition of Caspar Wolf’s work which also features paintings by a number of his contemporaries and recent photographs of some of these locations in the Alps.