The Beautiful and the Sublime

Thanks for a great session—check back soon for Summer 2020!

Exploring Visual Forms in Art and Nature

July 21–27, 2019 | Santa Fe, NM

We all experience beauty, but do we know what beauty is? Is beauty a quality of the world or (only) of our experience? Are there other aesthetic categories, e.g. the sublime, that are even more significant or powerful than the beautiful? We’ll look at three classic inquiries in the philosophy of art—ancient, enlightenment, and post-modern. At the same time, we’ll explore—through reading, viewing, drawing, and immersion in art installation and nature—how to interpret and articulate our experience of visual form in general and how technology and various “lenses” (e.g. scientific inquiry) affect such interpretations. Our setting in Santa Fe makes possible an engagement with magnificent works of art, especially O’Keefe’s paintings and Meow Wolf’s immersive installation, and with uniquely beautiful natural settings.

Summer Academy Santa Fe Pottery

Classes and Readings

For more information, the college urges students and parents to review expectations and policies, a campus map, and additional need-to-know details about Summer Academy in Santa Fe.


Plato, Hippias Major

Kant, “On the Beautiful and the Sublime”

Heidegger, “On the Origin of the Work of Art”


Plant Drawing and Flower Dissection

Dillard, “Seeing”

Goethe, “On the Metamorphosis of Plants”

Visual Arts

O’Keeffe, paintings

Ansel Adams, photography

Lessing, “Laocoön”

Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

Example Workshops

Yoga, calligraphy, archery

Example Excursions

Visits to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Ghost Ranch, Canyon Road art district, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return

Summer Academy in Santa Fe

The community formed among students is a natural extension of the friendships and ideas shared in the classroom. To further nurture a sense of community, Summer Academy students participate in non-academic workshops such as archery, pottery, yoga, and cooking.  Off campus excursions will include a refreshing visit to Lake Abiquiu and a tour of Meow Wolf’s immersive, multi-media arts installation.