HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT OF LANDSCAPE GENRE
Translated from the French word “landscape” (paysage) means “nature”. That is what the genre is called in art, the main task of which is the reproduction of natural or changed by man nature.
In addition, the landscape is a particular artistic work in painting or graphics, showing the viewer nature. The “hero” of such a work is a natural motive, invented by the author.
Elements of the landscape can be found already in rock art. In the Neolithic era, primitive craftsmen schematically depicted on the walls of the caves of a river or a lake, trees and boulders. On the Tassilin-Adjer Plateau in the Sahara, drawings with scenes of hunting and herding herds were discovered. Next to the figures of animals and man, the ancient artist schematically painted a simple landscape, not giving the opportunity to specify the scene of action. In the art of the Ancient East and Crete, the landscape motif is a rather common detail of wall paintings. Thus, not far from the village of Beni Hassan in Middle Egypt were found rock tombs of ancient Egyptian rulers who lived in the 21-20 centuries BC. One of the numerous frescoes covering the walls of the burial chambers depicts a wild cat hunting in dense thickets. Among the murals of the halls of the famous Knossos Palace on the island of Crete, a painting was found, called by the researchers “Partridges in the Rocks”.
In the ancient Roman city of Stabiae, destroyed, like Pompeii, during the eruption of Vesuvius, among other paintings found in one of the patrician houses, stands out the fresco “Seaport”, which is a real seascape.
As an independent genre, landscape appeared already in the 6th century in Chinese art. Pictures of medieval China very poetically convey the world around. The spiritualized and majestic nature in these works, made mostly with silk ink, appears as a vast universe that has no boundaries. The traditions of Chinese landscape painting had a great influence on Japanese art. Unfortunately, the framework of our publication does not allow us to tell in detail about the landscape painters of China and Japan – this is a topic for a separate book.
In Europe, landscape as a separate genre appeared much later than in China and Japan. During the Middle Ages, when only religious compositions had the right to exist, the landscape was interpreted by painters as an image of the characters’ habitat.
European miniaturists played a major role in the formation of landscape painting. In medieval France, talented illustrators the Limburg brothers, the creators of charming miniatures for the duke of Berry, worked in the courtyards of the dukes of Burgundy and Berry in the 1410s. These graceful and colorful drawings, telling about the seasons and the corresponding field work and entertainment, show the viewer the natural landscapes made from the workshop for that time with the transfer of perspective.
A pronounced interest in the landscape is noticeable in the painting of the Early Renaissance. And although the artists still very ineptly transfer the space, cluttering it with landscape elements that are not compatible with each other in scale, many paintings demonstrate the desire of painters to achieve a harmonious and holistic depiction of nature and man. Such is the painting “Procession of the Magi” (first half of the 15th century, Metropolitan Museum, New York) by the Italian master Stefano di Giovanni, nicknamed Sasetta.
A significant step forward in the development of landscape painting was made by the 15th century Swiss painter Konrad Witz, who showed a particular area in his composition on a religious plot – the shores of Lake Geneva.
Landscape motifs began to play a more important role in the era of the High Renaissance. Many artists began to carefully study the nature. Having abandoned the usual construction of spatial plans in the form of backstage, clutter of parts that are not consistent in scale, they turned to scientific developments in the field of linear perspective. Now the landscape, presented as a whole picture, becomes the most important element of artistic subjects. So, in the altar compositions, to which the painters most often turned, the landscape looks like a scene with human figures in the foreground.
Despite such obvious progress, until the 16th century, artists included landscape details in their works only as a background for a religious scene, genre composition, or portrait. The most striking example of this is the famous portrait of Mona Lisa (c. 1503, Louvre, Paris), written by Leonardo da Vinci.
The great painter with remarkable skill conveyed on his canvas the inseparable connection between man and nature, showed harmony and beauty, which for many centuries forced the viewer in admiration to freeze before the “Gioconda”.
Behind a young woman, the boundless spaces of the universe open up: mountain peaks, forests, rivers, and seas. This majestic landscape confirms the idea that the human person is as multifaceted and complex as the natural world. But people cannot comprehend the many secrets of the world around them, and this as if confirms mysteriously.Behind a young woman, the boundless spaces of the universe open up: mountain peaks, forests, rivers, and seas. This majestic landscape confirms the idea that the human person is as multifaceted and complex as the natural world. But people cannot comprehend the many secrets of the world around them, and this seems to confirm the mysterious smile on the lips of Gioconda.
Gradually, the landscape went beyond other artistic genres. This was facilitated by the development of easel painting. In small-sized paintings by the Dutch master I. Patinera and the German artist A. Altdorfer, the landscape begins to dominate the scenes shown in the foreground.
Many researchers believe that Albrecht Altdorfer is the ancestor of German landscape painting. Small human figures on his canvas “Forest landscape with the battle of St. George ”(1510, Old Pinakothek, Munich) are lost among the mighty tree trunks, the powerful crowns of which shield the earth from sunlight.