“Ten Versions of the Same Scene” 40 years later: Understanding and teaching the landscape concept


  • Benedetta Castiglioni Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World, University of Padua, Italy
  • Theano S. Terkenli Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, Mytiline, Lesvos, Greece
  • Marcello Tanca Department of Literature, Languages and Heritage, University of Cagliari, Italy


This paper aims to return to the importance of addressing the concept of landscape, and how to teach it, in a multidimensional way, through different perspectives. Starting from Meinig’s (1979a) The Beholding Eyes: Ten Versions of the Same Scene, we first reflect on how this paper is still effective as a proposal for approaching the landscape issue and its polysemy. The ten organising ideas proposed in the text can be grouped along three axes: a) the human-nature interrelationship, b) the form vs. function debate and analytical scheme and c) human/cultural perspectives on landscape meanings and values. More than four decades later, Meinig’s scheme seems to remain malleable and adaptive to a series of issues, concerns and purposes resulting from new circumstances arising from world change and socio-cultural transformation. Thereafter, we present a didactical exercise set for a group of master’s students that starts from Meinig’s paper and aims to acquire the skill of taking different perspectives on landscapes. The results of the students’ work confirm how effectively the exercise achieves this aim. In particular, it is noteworthy how the students’ gaze, once they have acquired the ability to manage complexity and take into consideration the polysemy of landscape, opens up towards the future of landscapes, generating conscious proposals for actions.


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Learning Landscapes ed. by Benedetta Castiglioni, Marcello Tanca