Art History Definition: Landscape Painting

© State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg; used with permission
Jacob Philipp Hackert (German, 1737-1807). The Grand Cascade at Tivoli, 1783. Oil on canvas. 120 x 170 cm (47 1/4 x 66 15/16 in.). © State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg


(noun) - Landscapes are works of art that feature scenes of nature: mountains, lakes, gardens, rivers, etc. They can be oil paintings, watercolors, gauche, pastels, or prints of any kind.

Derived from the Dutch word landschap, landscape can also refer to:

  • cityscapes - views of an urban setting
  • seascapes - views of the ocean
  • waterscapes - views primarily featuring fresh water (think of Monet on the Seine)

    "Landscape format" refers to a picture plane that has a width which is greater than its height.

    Landscape painting ranked fourth in the hierarchy of genres set up by the Academy. History painting, portraiture, and genre painting were considered more important. Still life was considered less important.