The City in the Visual Arts

The City in the Visual Arts

This Essay will try to dissect “The City in the Visual Arts” and used underlined subject of ownership to show relation of the two. To be honest, this topic is a bit more frustrating than the previous topics as I found it difficult to understand the relation between the City in the Visual Arts and Ownership. But I will try my best to demonstrate what I have understood as we view paintings from William Hogarth: The Roast Beef of old England,

“William Hogarth: The Roast Beef of old England”

the diagram showing borderline of the Netherlands, The Llyn Celyn gate, and the Carnaval, Boulevard des Capucines a Paris Claude Monet and the Paris Peripherique.

“Boulevard des Capucines a Paris Claude Monet and the Paris Peripherique”

In this essay I have to state my opinion of it being mainly about Land Ownership and not on the topic The city in the Visual Arts.


Ownership, the possession of something, physical or intellectual legally.

Land Ownership, The legal possession of land, property, geographic location.

Public Space, An open space that is generally open and accessible to the population.

Private Space, an enclosed space that is only open and accessible to certain persons in the population with permission.

With the definitions above, we will explore land ownership and the  concern of the privatization of public space.

Who owns the city and does it matters who owns different places?

My opinion on this question is that yes, it matters greatly who owns a place as the ownership really determines the running of a place, the stability of the place.


Its important to know who owns these different places as different places do different things. It is important to know this so one can know what they are allowed and not allowed to do in a place, what is acceptable and not acceptable and in many cases the laws that the place is under.

We explored a example of the land ownership with the Netherlands and Belgium. We noticed that in that area there is a physical line that shows which side owns which. This shows the physical separation of place. And with images that was shown, we see how that physical line of separation goes through buildings.

“Netherlands and Belgium Border”

As with the physical separation of space, we began to discuss the social separation of space as well. As Anna Minton explains in her article, she expresses concern on how public spaces are being turned into private spaces which is really impacting the social environment. She speaks on how the privatization of spaces provides security for a class of the population but creates social issues for a different class of the population, which in turn creates the social separation of space. An example she gives is with the gated communities in a outskirt location which blocks off a section of an area and in turn making that area a cold spot.  And this creates Polarization, a term she used to describe the two contrasting groups that are form because of the public spaces being turned to private spaces which begins to create division among people and can create social problems such as crime, unemployment, homelessness.

I can understand where Anna Minton is coming from, and I believe that ownership and privatization of space will create social issues and not approach the right way.

One way in which I can say how land ownership is relating to the topic, “The City in the Visual Arts, is that based on the ownership, we see different styles and paintings depicting a place or space.

As we begin to think about private space and public spaces, we have to really look at what is really public in todays era. The term public spaces is really indefinite when we think about it in this way.  If we look back at ancient times in Greece, Agora, the term public space was only afforded by citizens of Greece and not the slaves that were there. So we have to also understand that when we look at it, especially today, nothing is really public space because everything is owned by somebody, either private individuals, private organization or the government.




  • Anna Minton, (2006), “The privatization of public space”, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, London


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