Wikis > Landscapes
Venice Canal landscape artwork by Reynard Milici

Venice Canal

Known Names Landscape Art
Influencers Joachim Patenier
Nicolas Poussin
Annibale Carracci

(Top Image: “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet)

Landscape art oftentimes depicts natural scenery, such as lakes, rivers, mountains and gardens. The scenery may be either real or imagined. Typically, the components are arranged in a coherent fashion. Landscape art first gained popularity during the Tang Dynasty.


Landscape painting was introduced in Chinese art in the fourth century CE, but it was during the last half of the Tang Dynasty, from 618 to 906 CE, that it gained prominence for its representation of philosophical and theoretical principles. The ancient Romans and Greeks used the landscape style of art to create wall paintings. Landscape art saw a decline after the Roman Empire fell, and for a time,nature scenes were merely used as backgrounds for figural and religious scenes. Examples are found in The Annunciation, 1472, by Leonardo da Vinci; Birth of Venus, 1482, by Sandro Botticelli; and Rest on the Flight into Egypt, 1597, by Caravaggio. Landscape art was revived as Western art after the Italian Renaissance in the sixteenth century. It was then that landscapes were first viewed as subjects for paintings rather than as backdrops for other elements, and landscape paintings began to enjoy slightly higher status. Still, in Italy and France landscape art ranked fourth in the hierarchy of academies. However, it was gaining prominence with the Dutch and Flemish schools of art and was used in the works of Aelbert Cuyp and Van Ruisdael. The classical landscape was introduced in the seventeenth century. In this, objects were meticulously arranged, so that every animal, tree or bush was balanced precisely. French artists Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin are attributed with perfecting the classical landscape. These painters were inspired by Rome’s countryside. Landscape painting still held a relatively low position in the French Academy (based in Rome) by the eighteenth century; although, patrons often commissioned landscape paintings to be done. Around the same time, landscape art was becoming more popular in France and England with the works of Jean-Antoine Watteau and Giovanni Canaletto. Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes is credited with changing the Academy’s view of landscape painting with the publication of his book Elements de Perspective Practique in 1800. The book touted the merits of historic landscapes and led to the Academy’s acceptance of landscape art, paving the way for artists such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, landscape painting finally became dominant, gaining more attention in countries such as England, France, Russia and America. Landscape art was further boosted by the masterfully original work of J.M.W. Turner, who employed action and movement to bring his landscape painting to life. In the nineteenth century, landscape painters began turning away from classical landscapes, instead opting for the method of plein air painting by taking inspiration from the great outdoors for their works. Examples of this can be seen in the art of Theodore Rousseau. By the 20th century, photographers were already creating landscape art, and Ansel Adams’ depictions of the American West were garnering appreciation. During the twentieth century, all manner of landscapes inspired artists. Today, art enthusiasts anticipate further strides in the art form given the wonderful mediums at artists’ disposal.


  • The Destruction of Niobe’s Children, 1760, by Richard Wilson
  • The Swing, 1767, by Jean-Honore Fragonard
  • The Hay Wain, 1821, by John Constable
  • The Burning of The Houses of Lords and Commons, 1835, by J.M.W. Turner
  • Elements de Perspective Practique, 1800, by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes

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Some Examples of Landscape Artwork

Regatta at Argenteuil c. 1872 landscape artwork by Claude Monet

Regatta at Argenteuil c. 1872

A Quiet Lake landscape artwork by Albert Bierstadt

A Quiet Lake

The Clearing landscape artwork by Paul Ranson

The Clearing

Grand Canyon Panorama - Arizona South Rim photo by Jermaine Holmes

Grand Canyon Panorama – Arizona South Rim