More on…THE CONVENTION OF LANDSCAPE – some important landscape artists in history. Claude Lorrain, Pastoral Landscape: Roman Campagna, 1639
Landscape painting is a way of representing your world. It’s about considering your audience (perhaps the person who commissioned the work, or who owns the land you are painting) and communicating something to them about the world. It can indicate what is considered important in a certain culture at a certain time. One very influential painter was Claude Lorrain (French, 1600 -1682.) His landscapes were idealised – like Eugene von Guerard in Australia,, they seemed nobler and more beautiful than they would have literally been in real life. Eugene von Guerard, North East view of Mt Kosciusko, 1863 Claude Lorrain, Judgement of Paris 1645
They are an interpretation of the world, rather than a literal description. Claude influenced generations of artists, including those in the Romantic movement a little later.Landscape painting for itself was not seen as quite acceptable in 17th century Rome, as it was not quite serious enough. Claude always included figures in the foreground that often had a religious or classical story theme (ancient times were of great importance to people at that stage) is this made the painting more important and valuable. (This is referred to as HISTORY PAINTING.) But in fact his real interest was in the sky, water and atmosphere.
Romantic approach to landscape – JMW Turner JMW Turner, Norham Castle, Sunrise, c. 1845 By the end of 18th century attitudes to landscape painting were changing, though it was still considered a lesser genre than HISTORY PAINTING (painting Biblical stories or legends from classical times.) The Romantic movement was interested in the drama, power and terror, that could exist in the Natural world (called the sublime) or else peace and harmony, as in this beautiful watercolour.
Turner (British, 1775 – 1851) was considered one of the greatest landscape painters ever…and he helped change society’s attitude towards landscape painting for it’s own sake. Turner, Hannibal and his armies crossing the alps, 1812
Impressionism– last quarter of 19th century. Monet, Haystacks, effects of snow and sun, 1891
As the 19th century progressed (along with the development of photography) artists were changing the way the wanted to describe the world. They became interested in experimentation and capturing the fleeting effects of light and colour. Typically they created works outside, rather than mainly in the studio as previously. This style took a while to become popular with audiences and critics, as it was considered too rough and unfinished. Today it is one of the most popular styles of painting and considered hugely significant. Monet, La Grenouilliere, 1869
Useful resources on landscape in art:National Gallery of Victoria: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/collection/stories/landscape-and-environmentRomanticism in art: Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/roma/hd_roma.htm