Basharat Bashir

Landscape painting

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In the past as we know, the subject matter of paintings was largely taken for granted and the majority of the older pictures mostly represented religious subjects. Artists rarely stepped away from pre meditated themes and rarely painted a scene from a romance or an episode of contemporary history. It was only in the late 18th century that artists began to experiment and ignoring the shackles of old customs. Artists like Copley, Jaques Louis David and the great Spanish painter Francisco Goya, were among the first artists who consciously freed themselves from the bonds of tradition and managed to transform the meaning of art.  This transformation gave artists more freedom to experience and more freedom to express themselves.

Even though the mentality of art world was transformed and artists enjoyed new freedom in their choice of subject matter, landscape painting was still looked upon as a minor branch of art. But,  this attitude changed, with great artists who raised this type of painting to a new level. The two main artists who uplifted the dignity of landscape painting were, ‘William Turner and John Constable.

Turner is often lauded as the 19th century’s greatest landscape painter. Turner’s depictions of storms, waves, and fire capture the terror and tranquility of the natural world. Known as the “painter of light,” Turner’s unique ability to combine the intensity of Romanticism and the beauty of nature solidified his place as one of history’s foremost Romantic artists.

He was a very successful artist whose paintings were very much admired by Royal Academy. His fantastic landscapes were splendid with beauty and movement. His paintings were crowded by each and every effect which could make them more striking and dramatic to shock the audiance. The enthusiasm and perfection with which Turner worked gave his paintings a conception of grandeur of nature at its most romantic and sublime.

John Constable was another artist along with Turner who uplifted the respect for landscape painting. Unlike Turner he had no wish to shock people by daring innovations; he was more faithful to his own vision. He used to make sketches from nature and elaborate them in his studio. His paintings were not immediately accepted to be shown in a gallery but, his persistence made him one of the greatest landscape painters ever lived.

Along with Turner and John Constable another artist who revolutionized landscape painting was the German painter Casper David Friedrich. Friedrich’s paintings reflect the mood of the Romantic lyrical poetry of his time.  In our contemporary art world, there is no disconnection of landscape painting from other forms of art., thanks to artists like William Turner,  John Constable and others  that Landscape painting is as important branch of art as any other form.

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