Enjoy a glass of wine as you tour the exhibition with SVMoA’s curators. The mid-19th century in the United States saw the emergence of a group of progressive thinkers who advocated for a new understanding of the relationship between the individual, the divine and the natural world. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller, among others, came together in a shared belief in humanitarian causes and religious purpose.
Transcendentalism, as their theological and philosophical ideas became known, embraced elements of Unitarianism and advocated for a personal knowledge of God based in a rejection of materialism in favor of a spiritual experience of nature. In the U.S., Transcendentalism’s ideals found their most famous embodiment in Thoreau’s retreat to Walden Pond (then believed to be bottomless), where he spent a year living in a small, spare cabin, focusing on the spiritual rewards of a life lived in harmony with nature. This BIG IDEA project offers the notion that Transcendentalism’s retreat from the material in favor of a spiritual or divine encounter with the natural is an idea that continues to be relevant—and one that is perhaps more useful now than ever before.
PART OF SUN VALLEY MUSEUM OF ART’S BIG IDEA PROJECT THE BOTTOMLESSNESS OF A POND: TRANSCENDENTALISM, NATURE AND SPIRIT.