PotD - Art Genres: Landscape


According to official Fine Art History education, there are five “genres” or classifications of paintings as defined in the 17th Century – History, Portrait, Genre (everyday life), Landscape and Still Life. Each day this week Susan Omand picks a well known painting from one of these genres. Today is a sideways look at Landscape...

The term "landscape painting" comes from the Dutch word 'landschap', meaning 'a patch of ground', and means any picture whose main subject is the depiction of a scenic view, such as fields, mountains, trees, sea views etc. Many famous landscape paintings do include people, but they are not the reason for the painting. The appreciation of nature for its own sake, and its choice as a specific focal subject for art, went generally unnoticed in paintings up until the seventeenth century, where the landscape was confined to the background of portraits or paintings dealing principally with religious, mythological or historical subjects.

Once the landscape did become more of a focus, it wasn’t often a true representation with many painters going for a highly stylised or artificial look by trying to evoke the landscape of classical Greece and Rome, no matter whether they were painting Athens or Aberdeenshire, and their work became known as classical landscape. Others were much more rooted in reality and developed a more naturalistic form of painting, based on what they actually saw around them.

Some famous landscapes are Constable’s The Haywain, JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire and this one by Claude Monet, Bassin aux Nymphéas, Harmonie Rose – or Water lilies


Images - Wikimedia