There are several elements of nature in landscape paintings. And that’s what makes them mesmerizing!
In this art, human presence is minimal. Sometimes, there is no scope for them.
But, there is a scope for other things: meadows, seasides, mountains, lakes, etc
Today, you’re going to learn about those famous landscape paintings that have interesting stories, great achievements, and are critically appreciated.
I’ve curated 21 famous landscape paintings by famous artists (16th to 20th century).
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. The Starry Night By Vincent Van Gogh
“The Starry Night” is a moderately abstract landscape oil painting.
It depicts a beautiful view of pre-sunrise and an imaginary village.
Vicent has drawn this imaginary painting in his bedroom when he was in the asylum.
And it is the most famous oil painting from Vincent’s series of “21 bedroom view art”.
Apart from an imaginary painting, it also depicts the dominating night sky, a glowing moon, some rural houses, a church in the middle, and a couple of cypress trees.
Well, it was not fortunate enough to receive appreciation in its initial days. But, after some years, it received all the success which was not there in their destiny.
Today, it is considered one of Van Gogh’s most recognizable and famous landscape paintings in western art.
2. The Hay Wain by John Constable
The Hay Wain depicts a beautiful view of a rural area where a man on a bullock cart heading a village area on a sunny day.
Well, John’s landscape painting’s The Hay Wain wasn’t revered when he took it for the Royal Academy exhibition.
It was praised by everyone when Theodore Gericault brought it in front of a potential audience.
John Constable’s oil painting landscape was originally titled “Landscape: Noon”.
But, later on, the artist settled on “The Hay Wain” which was his best art in the series of the “six-footers”.
For years, it was recognized as the second most beautiful landscape in any British gallery.
3. Impression Sunrise by Claude Monte
Claude Monet, one of the remarkable artists, created a series of works that depicts the port in 1872.
Among them, Impression Sunrise was the best as it was inspired by “Le Havre”.
It is also known as a synonym for “impressionist movement”.
The interesting fact about it is it received fame since the moment it was out for exhibition.
Earlier, appreciation and recognition for the landscape paintings from Day 1 weren’t a common thing.
4. Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich
Casper’s landscape painting was one of the exceptional quintessential romantic works.
In this landscape artwork, he depicts a young man in a dark green overcoat with his back to viewers.
He is standing upon a rocky cliff with a stick on his right hand in a thick sea of fog.
The surprising part is people started considering this painting as a reaction against the values.
Values that were partially fueling the cruel french revolution’s monarch.
But, for years, this landscape painting had also been considered the epitome of romanticism.
Well, Caspar Friedrick was known for his several landscape artworks.
That’s why this famous landscape painting was similar to his other works such as Chalk Cliffs of Rugen and The Sea of Ice.
5. The Oxbow by Thomas Cole
The Oxbow was one of the most famous paintings of landscape in the 19th century.
It is a seminal landscape painting that depicts a nature scene after a thunderstorm.
Thomas Cole has depicted the thunderstorm effect in this landscape painting.
He has shown how a happy village turned out to be a silent place after a natural calamity.
Cole has sold this world-class painting to Charles Talbot. Later, he lent it to the Dunlap Benefit Exhibition.
After moving from one door to another for years, this one of the famous landscape paintings is currently stored in a safe place – The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
6. View Of Toledo by El Greco
View of Toledo was one of the famous landscape paintings in Spanish Art.
The artist has depicted a village in the dark night sky.
You can see rolling hills which show the top view of Toledo city.
The artist El Greco wanted to display the greatness of Toledo.
That’s why he has incorporated subjects like the Cathedral and the Alcazar in the work.
And that caused him to paint his version of Toledo city.
This oil paint artwork of El Greco is also available in the Metropolitan of Art, New York.
And this was the only landscape painting of El Greco which has received fame.
7. The Fighting Temeraire by J. M. W. Turner
It was one of the famous landscape paintings in the “Greatest Painting in Britain”.
The artist was highly inspired by the 98-gun ship, the Temeraire, and the valiant battle story.
That’s why he has depicted the 98-guns HMS Temeraire, the ship from”Battle of Trafalgar”.
The interesting fact about it is it was kept in Turner’s studio till his death. In the studio which was similar to a showroom.
It was the only painting that has given him fame and wealth, unlike his other works.
8. Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Gogh
This masterpiece was Vincent’s last painting.
He has painted it in the last weeks of his life.
This painting has depicted the murder of crows heading uncertain direction over a wheatfield.
Also, it has defined the pain, sorrow, and the near end of life.
At the time, many critics expressed their views on it.
They considered it a magnificent art filled with pain. Also, one of the greatest paintings of Vincent.
Wheatfield with crows was very close to him as he was having the toughest time of his life during its creation.
This landscape painting was stolen but recovered immediately in 1991.
9. The Tempest by Giorgione
This majestic landscape is the work of a famous Italian painter named Giorgione.
This renaissance painting expresses a meaningful story.
There is a woman sitting on the right feeding her baby.
Opposite to her, there is a soldier who is smiling and glancing at the left. The fact is he does not appear to be looking at her.
Many painters and artists were impressed with this work.
And it was a Venetian titled Vendramin who had commissioned this work to Giorgione.
10. Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth
Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth is a meaningful landscape painting.
There is a degenerative muscular disorder lady named Anna Olson in the painting.
A girl, who had never walked from the age of 30 years old.
Someone who firmly hated wheelchairs and would crawl to call his brother.
It was inspired by a real-life event though.
The artist witnessed it when Olson was 55 years old.
This intrigued him so much that he would ask his wife to pose like Olson, so he could paint the real-life scene.
Christina’s World failed massively when it was exhibited for the first time.
But, Alfred (founding director of MoMA) recognized its relevance for the first time and brought it in front of everyone.
Today, it is located at the Museum of Art, New York City, and is considered one of the most famous landscape paintings in American Art.
11. Mr. and Mrs. Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough
Thomas Gainsborough painted Mr. and Mrs. Andrews in 1750 at the age of twenty-four.
It was one of the four famous landscape paintings that represented British Art in the Paris exhibition.
There are two types of paintings compiled into one: a double portrait and landscape painting
Thomas wasn’t ready to work on this conversation piece as he wanted to do landscapes.
But, later, he decided to add some landscape touch and made it unique.
This artwork has received an uncountable appreciation.
Most critics and artists started recognizing Thomas Gainsborough after they discovered this painting.
12. The Heart of the Andes by Frederic Church
The Heart of the Andes is one of the largest and famous landscape paintings by an American painter…the largest one in the oil paint medium.
And it is a composite of South American topography.
The artist has wonderfully designed several subjects in it.
You can see the waterfall, mountains, broken tree trunks, and a church.
Although the artist named this painting The Heart of the Andes, there is little detail of Church in it.
This famous oil painting was publicly exhibited in 1859. And it was a super-hit show as it received impressive numbers of folks waiting to view the painting.
It was so famous that it has been in the collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1909.
13. View Of Haarlem With Bleaching Fields by Jacob Van Ruisdael
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Fields is the epitome of Dutch Golden Age painting.
It is one of the famous landscape artworks by a Dutch painter.
The artist has depicted an abandoned boat on the pond on the left.
Some trees on the left, Saint Bavo’s church in the middle, and some fields of linen in the background. Sun is shining brightly between great masses of clouds.
View of Haarlem with Bleaching Fields reflects the concept of his other panorama paintings.
Today, Jacob’s painting is in the collections at Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland.
14. The Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich
The work of this phenomenal painting was started at the beginning of the 19th Century in Dresden.
The Monk by the Sea is one of his amazing and famous landscape paintings.
He has designed only three subjects. But in a way that fascinates the art lover.
There is a grey band of clouds over the sea and the bareheaded monk’s back to the viewers.
It is an exceptional landscape that showcases an apocalypse to a lesser extent.
It was first exhibited in the Berlin exhibition of 1810, along with “The Abbey in the Oakwood”.
Post-exhibition, German Monarch Frederick William III bought pictures of it for his collection.
15. The Vale of Dedham by John Constable
There are so many details the artist has mentioned in the painting.
You can see broken trees sprouting some saplings on the left foreground.
There is a Dedham Church exactly in the center background.
And there are a bunch of villagers heading nowhere from their boats.
The subject of discussion in the painting was the lady who is seen nursing her kid beside a fire.
The critics, at the time, said that the inclusion of a gypsy mother doesn’t create an impact.
It’s an addition that makes the painting picturesque, through Constable’s eyes.
It is one of the landscape painting ideas that is inspired by Industrialization.
Basically, the artist has portrayed the scenario of Dedham village, pre-industrialization.
“The Vale of Dedham” is one of the best collections of the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.
16. Looking Down the Yosemite Valley by Albert Bierstadt
He has painted this art from the best angle above the Merced River.
It was his first large-scale Yosemite picture. And he has beautifully portrayed one of America’s pleasing views.
There are mountains, both sides. Some trees beside the pond. The setting sun hiding behind the mountains on the right.
And it was Albert’s main contribution to the New York exhibition: The National Academy of Design’s 1865 Annual Exhibition.
For days, the phenomenal art was hung in “The position of Honour”.
Later, Albert toured it to 4 different countries and lastly sold it to Uranus H Crosby.
After a couple of tours by one owner to another, it was lastly housed by Birmingham University of Art, Alabama.
17. Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes by Martin Johnson Heade
Martin was one of the famous landscape painters known for his detailed work.
He had worked on dozens of paintings.
Sunlight and Shadow: The Newbury Marshes, his earliest work, received huge appreciation.
It has depicted cloud shadows and a yard with domestic animals.
There is an old tree under the water and the body of the haystack in the middle of the yard
Basically, it has portrayed tides. Meteorological phenomena…
This oil canvas painting was acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 2010.
18. The Morning in a Pine Forest by Ivan Shishkin and Konstantin Savitsky
There is an interesting story behind the creation of this oil painting landscape.
Some accounts state that from scratch to end every work belongs to Shishkin.
Whereas others claimed that Savistsky also played an integral role to make it picturesque.
The fact is Shiskin was the first who started working on this painting. He drew pine trees when he was out for the vacation.
After some years, Savistsky joined him and continued this painting. He drew the bears and Shishkin the forest.
But, some scholars stated that Shiskin has also painted pine trees.
The landscape has depicted a wild bear, along with her three cub bears on the broken trunks of the trees.
“Morning in the Pine Forest” is one of the second most famous landscape paintings in Russia.
19. Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway by J. M. W. turner
During the Industrial Revolution, landscape artists were in full swing.
And this painting, too, was painted at the end of the revolution.
This artwork has depicted an early steam train of British time, crossing over the River Thames.
The artist has tried to portray several negative impacts of Industrialization through his work.
Several historians suggested that the artist has expressed how man’s modern technology would destroy – Destroy the important elements of nature.
Although there was another bridge, the artist focused on the middle – Maidenhead railway bridge
It was in 1844 when this painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy.
And it has portrayed the blend of the power of nature and technology, how it can create emotional tension.
The painting is now in the collections of the National Gallery, London.
20. The Sea of Ice by Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar, one of the famous landscape painters in Germany composed this oil painting.
The painting is actually based on the Arctic which was painted in one of his studios.
The Sea of Ice leaves a powerful message to humankind.
Prominent critics had deciphered the message that Ice shown in the painting is a path to death. That means if anyone tries to intrude on it, they shall receive a bad fate.
The painting has depicted small icebergs layered on each other in the foreground as well as background.
You can see crushed altogether in a way that it forms a tower of ice.
It seems like a small detail of a shipwreck.
There are so many subjects the artist has covered.
Without a question, The Sea Of Ice was one of the famous landscape paintings of famous artists.
21. Kindred Spirits by Asher Brown Durand
Kindred Spirits was one of Asher Durand’s famous landscapes.
Not only does it showcase emotions but also combines naturalism and idealization.
This oil painting has portrayed two of the famous artists of their time – Thomas Cole & William Cullen Bryant
Thomas Cole is on the ledge, on the brown clove. And the other one is Bryant who was the closest friend to Durand.
It was Jonathan Sturges who requested Durand to draw this painting.
This oil painting has depicted his two friends who had died in 1848, in the Catskill mountain.
Durand has labeled them as “Kindred Spirits”.
Now, you’ve learned why these landscape paintings stand out from other hundreds of artworks.
The above-mentioned famous landscape paintings were made between 16th to 20th centuries.
Today, you can find them in renowned art galleries and museums worth millions of dollars.
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She ordered a painting that should have had her father as the main subject, a dome in the background.
You know that Dome was none other than a small part of Yosemite Valley (one of the famous landscape paintings) which can evidently be seen in the below artwork.
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That’s all folks!
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