landscape painting
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landscape painting

A landscape painting, as the name suggests is a painting of some part of an extensive area of land. It can be a painting of mountains or a desert or a forest. What is essential to have a painting fit the genre of landscape paintings is that it must include the natural elements like land, water, animals, and other elements of nature. The very word landscape is in fact derived from the word ‘Landschap’ from Dutch vocabulary, which means land.

When you think about landscape art, whether it is watercolor or oil painting, landscape art refers to the use of landforms in the art form, whatever the media. In modern times, one can also use ‘landscape architecture’ which would include elements like planning and design and for example would include the scene from a public garden or park.

The history of landscape art can be traced back to the time of the Romans and the first century. In that era, paintings of Roman landscapes were used in decorative and applied art forms to beautify the interiors of Roman rooms and halls. Such creations were visible in the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum and have hence served as evidence of the existence of this art form in that era. It was only around the fifteenth century, that this form of art gained popularity in Europe. And still, landscape art, in that era in Europe had a comparatively limited use and was mostly only a medium of depicting scenes from mythological and religious stories. Closer towards the nineteenth century, landscape art had begun to be more understood and appreciated in Europe.

It was then that four main elements were believed to be the essence of any landscape artwork, irrespective of whether it falls into the category of tropical landscape paintings, winter landscape paintings, impressionist landscape paintings, contemporary landscape painting or any other genre of the art. The quality and expertise of an artist in respect of a landscape painting, it was then defined, depends on the use of descriptive symbols, the use of the elements of nature and the details thereof and the deeper message or depiction in the painting. The latter refers to the artist’s intent and ability to convey the beliefs of the time in his or her painting.

As with all fine art, a landscape oil painting usually tells the story of the time. For instance, ancient, famous landscape paintings that hailed from Canada often depicted the scenes of European travelers and their battle against harsh weather and stormy seas.

A landscape in oil painting can be created by using several effects as well. Aside from symbolism and story-telling, landscape art is still art and therefore demands the use of textures and variations of styles to create variety and uniqueness. Hence, artists have experimented with various forms of landscape art, especially with oil colors as oil paints lends themselves to various techniques. The artist would therefore employ different brushstrokes and methods using oil-based colors on canvas or even on paper.

Author ~ Anjana Vaswani


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