European Imagination of the Forest: From the Margins to Loss

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, The Parc des lions at Port Marly, 1872, oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Initially thought of as the matrix of civilization, and long dreaded or celebrated as a place to lose and better find oneself—whether one was a knight, or a child driven by danger or an urge—the increasingly rare European forest, surrounded by fields and cities, has been likened to the Garden of Eden, protected as a park and projected overseas, slowly becoming a space of originality losing out against the force of progress.