Arthur, in the comments to this post, wrote
This is so, I think, because great (or even merely good) art is not primarily concerned with presenting literal truth. (This is more the role of science and philosophy). Rather, the role of art is to present compelling fictions. By “fiction”, I don’t mean necessarily a conventional narrative. I mean that works of art create their own worlds, with their own rules.
Robert Adams expressed some thoughts that I think are related to this in his book Beauty in Photography. First thought – “The job of the photographer, in my view, is not to catalogue indisputable fact but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope.” And the second thought is “There is always a subjective aspect in landscape art, something in the picture that tells us as much about who is behind the camera as about what is in front of it.”
It seems to me that quite a lot of landscape art (painting, sketching, photography) is not so much about presenting a compelling fictional world, separate from reality. It’s about presenting a glimpse into how that reality is seen by the artist.
I’m not sure if that’s agreeing with Arthur or not. But I think Arthur’s got a fascinating insight, and I’d sure like to see more discussion along those lines.
(photograph above not particularly relevant to this discussion. I just think the blog looks nicer with images embedded in the stream of posts.)