The History of Landscape Paintings
Landscape art depicts landscapes like mountains, trees, valleys, rivers and forests and mostly art wherein the main subject takes a wider view with the elements arranged coherently otherwise landscape backgrounds still make an important part in a painting. Most often sky is included and weather is most often an important element in the composition.
Most tradition of this painting descend from Chinese art and western painting dating back to almost thousand years. Spiritual element in this painting begins its journey from the art of East Asia, depicting Daoism and philosophical tradition, while on the other hand in West mostly romanticism was depicted explicitly. Earliest forms of landscape art depicted only very little of real landscape although sometimes indication of trees, mountains or other features were included. Frescos from Greece, painted with no human figures was a pure landscape art painted and was the earliest of its kind. A rough system for scaling the distance for landscape were first developed in Hellenistic period in Greece.
Major difference between the West and East Asian landscape is that until 19th century, in the West, these paintings occupied only a very low position in the hierarchy while in East Asia, the Chinese water ink painting was treated as a most prestigious form. Giotto DI Bondone in the fourteenth century started introducing landscape elements as backgorund in their art. In the 15th century in Europe landscape painting was established as a genre. The end of15th century saw pure paintings of landscape and watercolors from Albrecht Durer, Leonardo da Vinci and others.
The eighteenth century also saw a growth in topographical print. Initially the art was centered on the building but with the increasing growth of romanticc movement, landscapes that were pure became very common. In both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, romantic movement changed the interest of landscape art from wild and remote landscapes which was previously only a recurring factor started to be prominent. Topographical prints were more often framed and hung on walls and remained much more popular medium in twentieth century but was often considered as a lower form of painting in compared to imagined landscapes. Watercolour landscapes became a specialism in England, wherein talented artists almost entirely did landscape watercolours, which was not much developed in other countries.
The nationalism of United Provinces was a factor in making the Dutch seventeenth century landscape art popular. In nineteenth century, many nations started to develop distinct national party schools. In Russia, the gigantic landscape painting itself became nationalist movement.
The school of Hudson River in United States which became prominent form middle to late nineteenth century, was probably the best to develop native landscape art. The painters created mammoth paintings which captured the landscapes fully. Although landscape paintings became less dominant after the period succeeding the first world war, many artists still did landscape paintings in different variety of styles.