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Landscape Paintings - Art Prints and Posters

Idealized landscapes were common subjects for fresco decoration in Roman villas. Landscape painting (as exemplified by a Chinese landscape scroll by Ku K'ai-chih dating from the 4th century) was an established tradition in the Far East, where themes such as the seasons and the elements held a spiritual significance.

In Europe, imaginary landscapes decorated 15th-century Books of Hours. The first naturalistic landscapes were painted by Durer and Bruegel. Landscapes appeared in most Renaissance paintings, however, only as settings to portraits and figure compositions.

It was not until the 17th-century Dutch and Flemish schools of Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema, Aelbert Cuyp, Rubens and Hercules Seghers - that they were accepted in the West as independent subjects.

The most significant developments in 19th-century painting, however, were made through the landscapes of the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists. Styles in landscape painting range from the tranquil, classically idealized world of Poussin and Claude, the precise, canal topography of Francesco Guardi and Canaletto and the structural analyses of Cezanne to the poetic romanticism of Samuel Palmer and the later Constable's and Turner's and the exultant pantheism of Rubens and Van Gogh.

Modern landscapes vary in approach from the Expressionism of Oskar Kokoschka's cities and rivers, Maurice de Vlaminck's wintry countrysides, and John Marin's crystalline seascapes to the metaphysical country of Ernst, Dali, and Rene Magritte.