Artists have always felt compelled to portray their closeness to the natural world. The art form known as landscape painting is a prime example of this inclination for nature because it typically depicts outside scenes such as woods, mountains, and rivers. Also, some pieces have become iconic over the years and are favored by many art enthusiasts. These famous landscape paintings capture all facets of nature: rolling hills and meadows, high peaks and steep valleys, sunsets, and starry nights.
Landscape artists can't ask for better material than landscapes. Landscape painters have endless inspiration when depicting nature's riotous hues or colorful scenes and varied textures. Art can take its audience on a fantastical journey, allowing them to see the landscapes that renowned scenery artists depicted and the world through the artist's particular point of view and artistic lens.
What are Landscape Paintings?
Any painting that features landscape elements like mountains, forests, rivers, oceans, or any other form of nature is considered a landscape painting. The scenery itself, as opposed to any people or animals in the image, is what the viewer is meant to focus on in a landscape painting.
Although landscape paintings have been around since antiquity, it wasn't until the Renaissance that they became recognized as a separate Western art genre. Landscape painters in the 17th and 18th centuries saw the natural environment as a worthy subject in and of itself, leading to a boom in the popularity of landscape painting.
Landscapes can be painted in many styles, from photo-realistic to abstract. Artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, J.M.W. Turner, and Caspar David Friedrich are among the many who have made significant contributions to the landscape painting genre.
How are Landscape Paintings Made?
Landscape paintings can be executed in many mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, and many more. There are often multiple steps involved in creating a landscape painting, including:
Step 1: Many landscape artists begin by sketching the scene. They might produce rough sketches or capture photos on the spot to utilize later.
Step 2: After settling on a finalized composition, the first step in painting a landscape is to block in the broad strokes with the primary colors and shapes. It is important for setting the tone of the whole picture and maintaining harmony.
Step 3: After setting the primary forms and colors, they will add additional paint layers. It may take several sittings for the artist to complete this procedure, during which time they will add layers of detail and polish to the final product.
Step 4: After the bulk of a painting is finished, the artist will usually focus on the finer elements, such as textures, highlights, and shadows. The artwork gains depth and atmosphere as a result of this.
Step 5: The artist will complete the piece by including their signature, a coat of varnish, or a custom frame.
Top 6 Famous Landscape Paintings
The following are some of the most well-known landscape paintings ever created:
"The Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh
The Starry Night, by Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh, is among the artist's most famous works. Over a village with cypress trees in the foreground, the picture displays a night sky filled with swirling, sparkling stars and a beautiful crescent moon. Vincent Van Gogh painted the night sky with strong brushstrokes and vibrant, opposing hues to portray its energy and motion.
“The Slave Ship” by J.M.W. Turner
The English artist J.M.W. Turner painted "The Slave Ship" in 1840. The crew of a ship throws their slaves overboard during a storm in an attempt to collect on their insurance policy. The painting's vivid hues and dramatic arrangement are particularly effective at conveying the gruesomeness of the slave trade.
“Landscape with the Flight into Egypt” by Annibale Carracci (1604)
This painting by Annibale Carracci is based on the biblical tale of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus' flight to Egypt to escape King Herod's persecution. The landscape is the painting's primary subject, and dramatic and lifelike qualities distinguish it. Carracci employed many hues and meticulously observed the play of light and shadow to create this unique environment.
"Mont Sainte-Victoire" by Paul Cézanne
French painter Paul Cézanne is widely regarded as the best landscape painter. The "Mont Sainte-Victoire" landscape series, which he worked on for a long time, is among his most well-known works.
Paul Cézanne painted the "Mont Sainte-Victoire" numerous times, a mountain in southern France. The mountain's unique silhouette and the way it appeared to shift in appearance under different lighting situations captivated him. Paul Cézanne painted the peak and its surroundings in a strong, geometric manner to emphasize the mountain's distinctive shape and the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
"Impression, Sunrise" by Claude Monet
Claude Monet, a French Impressionist, is widely recognized for his landscape paintings, especially his works depicting water lilies and the French countryside. In his painting "Impression, Dawn," Monet captures the port of Le Havre, his hometown in northern France. Monet creates a hazy, atmospheric quality in this picture, combining loose brushwork and the play of light and color. Apart from the scene's warmth and vitality, the painting is noted for its use of bright orange and yellow tones.
“View of Dordrecht” by Jan Van Goyen
Dutch painter Jan Van Goyen painted some of the most iconic landscapes of the 17th century. The city of Dordrecht, Netherlands, is depicted in "View of Dordrecht," a panoramic landscape picture painted from a vantage point across the Maas River. The flat, open spaces and gorgeous skies that are so distinctive of Dutch Art are perfectly captured in this picture and give a deep connection, creating a quintessentially Dutch mood.