Research Point: Evolution of Landscape Painting
Do your own research into the evolution of landscape painting from the eighteenth century to the present day… Note particularly some of the ways in which modern and contemporary artists have chosen to interpret this genre. To what extent does contemporary landscape painting reflect environmental concerns, for example?
I have begun to use Pinterest to collate my research as suggested by the OCA.
18th Century Landscape Painting:
Francis Towne (1739 or 1740 – July 7, 1816) was a British watercolour landscape painter.
This is a charming watercolour landscape and am probably getting ahead of myself, but is a great example of aerial perspective.
Edward Haytley. “The Montagu Family at Sandleford Priory.” 1744
What I would call a traditional landscape by a painter I am not familiar with. Personally, it leaves me a little cold as a picture, however, I see skill and aerial perspective and elements of the use of the rule of thirds or golden ration. It is also a falsely romanticised rendition of 18th century rural life.
Thomas Gainsborough, Wooded Landscape with Shepherd Resting in a Sunny Path and Sheep, c.1746, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Netherlands
This has much more life and movement than the previous example. It has a softness of colour and brush strokes that evoke a quiet moment on a sunny day. The play of light seems to be the focus and although, it is again a romanticised image, it has more reality as just a moment in time.
19th Century Landscape Painting:
Märkisch Lake in the Evening, 1890s – Lesser Ury (1861–1931)
A beautiful, atmospheric painting showing a gentle evening light. Not overworked, just lovely.
John Constable, Weymouth Bay from the Downs above Osmington Mills, about 1816, 22 x 30 3/8 in.
A small oil sketch of Weymouth, which appears to have been painted in situ, I like this because, there are still stretches of this coastline that still has this desolate feeling. I think it’s almost a shame that Constable has added the figures into the picture, although it does give a sense of scale.
20th Century Landscape Painting:
This is going to be difficult to choose from this century, two world wars, women coming into their own, industrialisation, intensive farming, urban planning – the landscape itself changed so much in this century not to mention the variety of painting genres!
‘Monte Oliveto’ (1912) by English painter & interior designer Vanessa Bell (1879-1961).
An artist that my tutor has told me to look out for (along with Duncan Grant) and after scouring the BBC Your Paintings website I totally understand why. Both are very emotive painters and this landscape is warm and welcoming as I’m sure this place was. It’s a happy place with good memories for the artist, I’m sure. However, I can also see that it could be painted very differently with cooler colours and evoke a menacing, almost claustrophobic mood with those imposing trees.
The Village, 1918. Jean Dominique Antony Metzinger was a major 20th-century French painter, theorist, writer, critic and poet, born in Nantes, France, who, along with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Albert Gleizes, developed the art style known as Cubism.
I decided on this example as many others I had “pinned” will crop up later. I really like the sense of pattern in this painting, yet it is still clearly a landscape with both natural and urban elements.
I am unsure of the title of this Diebenkorn painting but I like everything about it. It’s abstract, yet to me, I see the ground laid out beneath me as if in a plane with the clouds parting to reveal my destination. Clearly a landscape and I see the warmth of the sun casting its colours on the hills.
21st Century Landscape Painting:
Volcanic painting by Diane Burko
Tracking the melting ice caps – Diane Burko
Diane Burko is an American artist and photographer renowned for her natural landscape work. She is committed to raising awareness of the impact of climate change on the planet and has been working on a major project regarding the melting of the polar ice caps.
Alexis Rockman at Sperone Westwater | New York Art Tours
Alexis Rockman another American artist who has used his art to inform and educate on environmental issues such as climate change, pollution of rivers and the suggested dangers of genetically modified food.