11. The Pragmatic Picturesque

The Philosophy of Central Park

  1. Dan O'Brien PhD Research Fellow Associate Lecturer
  1. Gary Shapiro PhD Professor

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch11

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

Shapiro, G. (2010) The Pragmatic Picturesque, in Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone (ed D. O'Brien), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch11

Editor Information

  1. Oxford Brookes University, UK

Author Information

  1. University of Richmond, Virginia, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330212

Online ISBN: 9781444324563



  • pragmatic picturesque - philosophy of the Central Park;
  • New York's Central Park, one of world's iconic works of landscape architecture - of global recognition;
  • Immanuel Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment - landscape gardening, form of painting, differing from two-dimensional canvases;
  • picturesque style invention - artistic principles of Central Park and Olmsted's work;
  • economic and social developments - new opportunities for English landowners;
  • picturesque, in respect to English garden or park - and series of stylistic variations;
  • English picturesque garden, of the eighteenth century - exemplary cases of the paradox of the frame;
  • Olmsted and Central Park - and ethics, politics and aesthetics;
  • Olmsted, two basic forms of recreation - “exertive” and “receptive”;
  • “The Gates” and meaning of the park - not being an unprecedented intervention in the park


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Invention of the Picturesque Style

  • Olmsted and Central Park: Ethics, Politics, Aesthetics

  • “The Gates” and the Meaning of the Park

  • Notes