Speaking in simple terms, a landscape painting is any artwork that predominantly features scenes from nature, such as those of lakes, mountains, rivers, gardens and so on. A landscape art can be of various kinds – gauche, pastel, print, watercolour or oil painting. It tries to capture the world around us in its natural form, which is why the genre is often viewed as gently cascading hills, magnificent scenes of mountains and garden ponds with still water.
In the modern times, landscape art has assumed a broader definition, which means that an art featuring a natural scenery with subjects like people, animals and buildings in it will also fall under this genre. Over the years since its inception, landscape art has also been branched into a few modern-age subsidiaries like cityscapes, waterscapes and seascapes. There are many artists who create contemporary paintings in these forms.
When explained as a format in art, landscape actually describes a picture plane that is in horizontal orientation. This format enables artists to effectively capture a wide vista and portray it in the best way possible. However, there are certain people who do use vertical format for making landscape paintings, but doing so restricts their subject’s vantage point.
The concept of landscape painting is not as old as it may seem to be, rather it’s relatively new. In the olden times, nature was not so popular as a subject and artists focused more on capturing elements of historical or spiritual significance. So landscape art did not spur any interest among artists until 17th century. During this time, the likes of Nicholas Poussin, Jacob van Ruisdael and Claude Lorraine started using sceneries as the subject matter of their masterpieces for the first time ever.
By the late 19th century, landscape art become very prominent and helped in imparting a romantic appeal to various scenic views. Later on, it came to be used as a medium for artists to capture the exquisiteness of the natural world around them. After the emergence of Impressionists during the mid-1800s, it started becoming less literal and realistic. As a result, artists such as Cezanne, Renoir and Monet got a chance to paint their own unique perspective of nature.
Fast forwarding to the 21st century, landscape art has now become one of the most common genre of paintings in the stocks of collectors. It has been taken to many different places by many different people, some of whom came up with completely new interpretations of the art form.