Sainte-Victoire, a mountain in the South of France, remained Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne’s preferred subject matter for years. In his series of oil paintings portraying the landform, he experiments with different views, color palettes, and perspectives to produce a comprehensive look at the mountain and its surrounding landscape.
In this depiction from 1837, he frames the scene with trees in the foreground and a village in the distance.
Read more: Gorgeous Watercolor Paintings of the Diverse Landscapes Nature Has to Offer
Read more: Energetic Landscape Paintings Portray Artist Erin Hanson’s Love for National Parks
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Thomas Gainsborough’s Portrait of Mr and Mrs Andrews presents the estate of a recently married couple. While the figures play a primary role in the piece, the landscape is also in focus. According to the National Gallery, “the emphasis on the landscape here allows Gainsborough to display his skills as a painter of convincingly changing weather and naturalistic scenery, still a novelty at this time.”
Database of landscape artists: At the end, sites which list individual landscape artists in online databases are highlighted
Claude Lorrain [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Review: Paul Sandby – Picturing Britain Exhibition at the RA David Cox John Sell Cotman Thomas Girtin William Dyce Richard Parkes Bonington, JMW Turner About J.M.W. Turner – site in transition Turner’s Sketchbooks: 1790s John Constable Visiting Constable Country; Sketching Constable’s Cornfield John Constable – Somerset House Terrace from Waterloo Bridge Painting a River Pageant Samuel Palmer, John Martin William Holman Hunt; Ford Madox Brown Phillip Wilson Steer Alfred Wallis Paul Nash LS Lowry, Atkinson Grimshaw, the Heaton Coopers, Samuel Peploe Eric Ravilious, John Piper Stanley Roy Badmin “February” by Stanley Roy Badmin RWS Graham Sutherland, David Prentice, Kurt Jackson, David Hockney About David Hockney – British Artist – site in transition Hockney: sketchbooks, iPad sketching and the Yosemite Valley; David Hockney RA talks about landscape painting Hockney: 51 iPad drawings on paper – Winter to Spring in Woldgate Places to Paint: David Hockney and East Yorkshire Talking about Hockney’s Landscape Painting Rowan Huntly: Extreme Plein Air – painting the Antarctic! British Council – Landscape Art Collection lists various British artists who painted landscapes
Baroque painter Claude Lorrain is known for his idyllic portrayals of allegorical scenes rooted in either the bible or in classical mythology. Pastoral Landscape is one work that aptly conveys this interest. Notice the Roman ruins on the horizon!
Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Mr and Mrs Andrews (1749-1750)
Asian Landscape Artists JAPAN Muromachi Period (1333-1573) Sesshu Toyo, Kano Eitoku, Hasagawa Tohaku Edo Period (1615-1858)
Katsushika Hokusai, South Wind, Clear Sky from Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1830)
Read more: Quiet Landscape Paintings Remind Us to Cherish The Familiar
A key work from the Romantic period, this piece conveys the awe-inspiring and sublime characteristics of nature. Through the thick fog, jagged cliffs and rocky mountains topped with trees emerge in the distance.
While a figure is featured in the center of the canvas, his back is to the viewer, redirecting his or her gaze to the backdrop.
Richard Wilson Thomas Gainsborough George Stubbs Paul Sandby
Read more: Circular Oil Paintings Blur Landscape Details with Abstract Figures
Caspar David Friedrich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Art History: The Evolution of Landscape Painting and How Contemporary Artists Keep It Alive
Read more: Artist Creates Traditional Chinese Landscape Paintings Using Roller Skates
Read more: Meticulous Landscape Paintings Beautifully Represent Intangible Emotional States
Painted by Claude Monet and showcased in the 1874 “Exhibition of the Impressionists,”, Impression, Sunrise gave name to the Impressionist movement. The oil painting is set in Le Havre, France, and offers the artist’s “impression” of the setting sun’s effect on the water.
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Hokusai Hiroshige: The Art of Hiroshige – includes references to The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road – described as a series of naturalistic views with landscapes and people and One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (1856-8) CHINA Song Dynasty (960-1279) DongYuan, Guo Xi Ju Ran; Southern Song Dynasty (1172-1279) Ma Yuan Xia Gui; Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Huang Gongweng, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan Wang Meng Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) Dai Yin, Shen Zou, Weng Zhengming, Yang Yin, Qui Ying, Dong Qichang, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Zha Du, the Four Wangs: Wang Shimin, Wang Hui, Wang Jian, Wang Yunagi, Wu Li, Shitao, Hongren, Kuncan, Gong Xian Australasian Landscape Artists
Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh features several motifs often explored by the artists in his landscape depictions. These include towering trees, swirling clouds, and rolling hills. In a letter to his brother, Theo, van Gogh describes the painting. “I have a canvas of cypresses with some ears of wheat, some poppies, a blue sky like a piece of Scotch plaid; the former painted with a thick impasto like the Monticelli’s, and the wheat field in the sun, which represents the extreme heat, very thick too.”
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Monthly Cycle, Scene: The Hunters in the Snow (1565)
In the contemporary realm of painting, artists often dabble in styles inspired by past artistic movements. One genre that has particularly strong roots in the past is landscape painting. Today, contemporary artists who work in this style visually demonstrate the ways in which their work has been inspired by the age-old genre, which is characterized by an interest in portraying nature. To see these influences and learn about landscape art, it is important to understand the ways in which artists—both of the past and present—creatively approach it.
Landscape painting (or landscape art) refers to an artistic genre defined by a focus on natural scenery as subject matter. Landscape paintings can depict a variety of settings, such as mountains, forests, rivers, and beaches. They often offer a wide view of the scene, and usually place some focus on the sky.
Read more: Exquisite Paintings Render the Beauty of Nature in Drips, Dots, and Dazzling Color
Pieter Brueghel the Elder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ambrogio Lorenzetti Ambrogio Lorenzetti – the first panorama Giotto Limbourg Brothers March: Peasants at Work on a Feudal Estate by Limbourg brothers The Limbourg Brothers – and “September” “October” – Limbourg Brothers (Autumn Landscape #11) Piero della Francesco; Massacio, Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci Georgione Pieter Brughal the Elder Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden Albrecht Altdorfer Joachim Patinir Albrecht Durer El Greco Claud Lorrain Salvator Rosa Nicolas Poussin Peter Paul Rubens Jacon van Ruisdel Aelbbert Cuyp William van der Velde Jan Siberechts Painting the Thames: Jan Siberechts Watteau Piranesi Canaletto (Giovanni Antonion Canal) Canaletto – Painting Britain Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and Canaletto’s Thames Pageants #1 Painting a River Pageant Johan Christian Dahl Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857) Caspar David Friedrich, Albert Bierstadt, Karl Blechen Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau, Jules Dupré Paul Cezanne Claude Monet 40 Antibes landscapes in 4 months by Claude Monet; Film of Claude Monet painting waterlilies at Giverny Camille Pissaro The Louvre, March Mist – Pissaro (Spring Landscape #1) Berthe Morisot Spring Landscape #2 – by Berthe Morisot Alfred Sisley Seurat Vincent Van Gogh Van Gogh’s approach to drawing landscapes; Van Gogh’s Perspective Frame; Van Gogh’s Palette 1882 Paul Gauguin Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida Andre Derain, Henri Matisse Aksell Gallen-Kallela Valentin Serov, Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin, Ivan Shishkin, Isaac Levitan ‘March’ by Isaac Levitan (Spring Landscape #4) Gustav Klimt Utrillo Magritte, Dali Pablo Picasso Spanish Landscapes – and Picasso
Constable is renowned for his paintings of the English countryside. The Hay Wain—a piece often cited as “Constable’s most famous image”—conveys this favored subject matter. In the background, a cloudy sky is offset by bright green trees, while, in the foreground, horses are shown pulling a cart across a reflective river.
The Art of the Landscape Project aims to learn more about famous landscape artists (past and present). In general this blog is featuring ‘museum quality’ artists who are well known within the art community.
Others who may be less well know will also be featured usually because their landscape art is well regarded and/or unusual. I’ve developed resource websites about various artists who were well known for their landscape art.
They include links to: information about their life and career as an artist websites about the artist where you can see their work online art galleries and museums where you can see their work books about their work
Artists choose landscapes as their subjects for a variety of reasons. In addition to wanting to represent or replicate their obvious beauty, some artists opt to create these depictions to study and explore various aesthetic elements, like light, color, and texture. Additionally, some artists also use scenes of nature as a way to tell a story, illustrate an idea, or conceptualize a metaphor.
Given the long and diverse history of landscape painting, it is not surprising that many artists still dabble in the genre today. As evident in this contemporary landscape painting collection, many creatives have taken cues from the past to create landscape art that is both evidently inspired and highly original.
Like many works by J. M. W. Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway acts as both a beautiful landscape and a study of light, movement, and color. While, in this particular piece, the artist’s focus is on capturing the speed of a train, the backdrop offers a show-stealing, nearly abstracted view of nature.
J. M. W. Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844)
Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818)
Celebrating creativity and promoting a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening.
Read more: Breathtaking Impressionist Paintings of Bluebonnets by Julian Onderdonk
This Northern Renaissance painting is one in a series of works that conveys the different times of year. It demonstrates both the artist’s interest in capturing the changing seasons and his profound sense of perspective and depth.
Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow (1836)
Tracing the genre’s evolution and looking at well-known landscape paintings throughout history enables one to visually recognize these differences and understand where contemporary landscape painters may find their inspiration.
See if you can spot any similarities between these pieces by contemporary landscape artists and those by key figures from the past.
Like much of El Greco’s work, View of Toledo offers an atmospheric study of the sky. Unlike his other pieces, however, this painting portrays a landscape—not a portrait—in the foreground.
Read more: Artist Creates Watercolor Paintings on Location and Aligns Them with Actual Landscape
Often referred to simply as The Oxbow, this piece by American artist Thomas Cole juxtaposes wild nature with an idyllic, pastoral setting. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cole experimented with this contrast in order to “emphasize the possibilities of the national landscape, pointing to the future prospect of the American nation.
Read more: Impressionist-Inspired Landscapes Fuse Photography with Painting to Blur Fantasy and Reality
Read more: Vibrant Landscape Paintings Use the Color Orange to Capture the Warm Glow of the American West
In this Italian Renaissance painting, Giorgione places equal emphasis on the figures in the foreground and the stormy scene in which they are set. Even with such prominent characters, this piece is considered a prime example of early landscape painting.
South Wind, Clear Sky is 1 in a series of 36. Like its counterparts, this woodblock presents a unique view of Mount Fuji. In each distinct portrayal, Hokusai plays with color and perspective to offer a one-of-a-kind vantage point of the mountain.
Famous Landscape Art Throughout History Giorgione, The Tempest (c. 1505)
Winslow Homer Andrew Wyeth James McNeil Whistler – JM Whistler’s pastel landscapes of Venice Childe Hassam – View of the Thames by Childe Hassam Willard Metcalf – Paintings of water in March by Willard Metcalf Georgia O’Keeffe – Georgia O’Keeffe’s landscapes of northern New Mexico Wolf Kahn – Wolf Kahn – 6 good reasons not to paint a landscape Canada Visionary Landscapes in the Americas about native art in Canada Group of Seven – Canada : Canada’s Group of Seven at Algoma Emily Carr (1871-1945)
Landscapes at Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand Landscape Art Databases – indexed by artists Artcyclopedia – Artists by Subject Matter: Landscape Painters Chronological Listing Artcyclopedia – Artists by Subject Matter: Maritime Painters Chronological Listing
Read more: Colorful Reinterpretations of Cloudy Scottish Landscapes
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BUT some of these now need to be moved from their present sites.