Landscape Painting

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The Voyage Of Life, Manhood by Thomas Cole, 1842.

Landscape, from Dutch "landschap" (1590–1600), means an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view or a picture depicting an expanse of scenery. [1]

Landscape is used as a term in painting for a representation of a natural scenery of land or sea, usually extensive, actual or fancied. Landscapes have been painted since ancient times. The Greeks and Romans created wall paintings of landscapes. Asian painting has a remarkable landscape tradition; it has been called "China's greatest contribution to the world's art".

Open-air painting was already an established tradition by the early nineteenth century. An influential treatise published in 1800 by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes stressed the value of outdoor studies done quickly and with a broad sweep: "all études (studies) from Nature should be done within two hours at the outside, and if your effect is sunrise or a sunset, you should take no more than half an hour." [2]

Flemish and Dutch artists, pioneers in the landscape genre

Rubens, Landscape with the Château Steen, 1636.

Dutch art saw landscapes as the medium that expressed pride in their country in the 17th century. Peter Paul Rubens, the most eminent representative of Flemish art, among a vast number of artists excelled in landscape as well as in portraiture, religious, mythological and allegorical subjects. Gillis van Coninxloo worked in a Mannerist style. Pieter van Laar developed his own style of landscape. Esaias van de Velde, Hercules Seghers, Jan van Goyen and Salomon van Ruysdael also were among the pioneers. Aelbert Cuyp was one of the most famous Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Jacob van Ruisdael (or Ruysdael) was the greatest of all Dutch landscape painters; Van Ruisdael excelled in the painting of cloudscapes.

Jacob Isaaksz van Ruisdael, Stormy Sea with Sailing Vessels, 1668.

Ruisdael The windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede.jpg

Jacob van Ruisdael, The windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, ca. 1670.

Seventeenth-century Netherlanders had a passion for depictions of city and countryside, either real or imaginary. Local scenery asserted Holland’s national pride, while vistas of foreign sites recalled the extent of its overseas commerce. Holland’s ocean ports teemed with fishing and trading ships, and the tiny country’s merchant fleet was almost as large as all the rest of maritime Europe’s combined. [3]

Classical landscape

Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with a Calm, 1650 - 1651.

The classical landscape was perfected by French artists Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Before them, outside of the Netherlands, the genre of landscape painting had yet to gain acceptance with the powerful art academies of Italy and France; landscapes were seen as inferior subjects for painting. Poussin came later in life to believe that landscapes could express the same powerful emotions as the human dramas depicted in history paintings. From that point on, he worked to elevate landscape to a higher status. [4]

Claude Lorrain, Capriccio with Ruins of the Roman Forum, ca. 1634.

The Modern Landscape

In 1800, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes published a book on landscape painting; This book and Valenciennes' works benefit greatly the next generation of landscape painters. In the 19th century landscape painting gained a new supremacy due to the artworks of painters of the Barbizon School such as Theodore Rousseau and Charles Daubigny, or the Revolutionary artist Gustave Courbet, who pushed the boundaries of landscape painting even further, and the Impressionists whom devoted most of their careers to studying and painting the landscape; The influence of Courbet extended well beyond Impressionism, impacting the work of Paul Cézanne and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as painters in the 20th century. Ibidem Two English Romantic landscape painters, John Constable and William Turner, contributed to elevate landscape painting gender.

Courbet Château d’Ornans.jpg

Château d’Ornans by Gustave Courbet, 1855.

American landscape painters

Earliest painters used landscapes only as background of portraits. Famous American landscape painters are: Asher Durand, George Catlin, Thomas Cole, John Mix Stanley, William Bradford, Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, George Caleb Bingham, John James Audubon, Thomas Moran, William Merritt Chase, and Ian Hornak.

Works of John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington influenced American landscape painting. Constable also influenced the Barbizon School and the French Romantic movement.

See also

Li Kan, Bamboo and Rocks, ca. 1320.
Dr. Atl, Paisaje con volcanes.

External links

José María Velasco, El Valle de México, 1877.