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Home >> Painting by Themes >> Urban Landscape Paintings

Urban Landscape Paintings


Urban landscape paintings refer to the artistic representation of the physical aspects of a city or urban area in painting.

History of urban landscape painting-
Middle Ages witnessed the use of urban landscape paintings as a backdrop for portrait and Biblical themes. 16 th -18 th century was full of numerous copperplate etchings and prints. In the mid 17 th century, urban landscape paintings emerged as an individual genre in Netherlands. Cities like Amsterdam, Harlem and Hague came to be regarded as popular themes in painting. The art of urban landscape painting prospered considerably in Venice in the 18 th century.

The end of 19 th century witnessed a rapid rate of industrialization. Keeping in tune with the spirit of the age the impressionists made suburban, industrial areas, building sites and railway areas as their theme of painting. The production of urban landscape paintings sloped down considerably as abstract and conceptual art became the focus of painting. However, things changed drastically during the closing years of the 20 th century. Urban landscape painting was revalued once again with the rejuvenation of figurative art traditions.

Famous Urban Landscape Painters

Some of the luminaries in the world of urban landscape painting were:
  • Iovanni Antonio Canale
  • Johannes Vermeer
  • Alfred Sisley
  • Camille Pissarro
  • James Abbott McNeill Whistler
  • Isaac Lazarus IsraŽls
  • George Hendrik Breitner


Veduta is a term intrinsically linked with urban landscape painting. Large scale painting of a cityscape is generally referred to as veduta. Flanders witnessed the origin of this genre of painting. Venice came to be regarded as the distinguished center of urban landscape painting in the mid 18th century. The Canal and Guardi families of Venice had some of the greatest artists of this genre of painting. Some of the practitioners had the golden opportunity to work as painters in chief capitals of Europe. It may be noted here that Giovanni Paolo Pannini was the first Veduta practitioner to dabble in painting ruins.

In this increasingly industrialized world urban landscape is the hub of happenings. Urban landscape therefore has been a huge source of inspiration among painters for obvious reasons. Many artists view urban landscapes as a collective artwork of mankind where everyone has a voice of his own. The famous artist Marcus Antonis Jansen in an interview has therefore rightly pointed out that to an artist even a Ďdark black streetí can be more fascinating than so called pretty landscapes if only one has the eyes to perceive it and the urge to discover unexplored shores in the creative world of painting.

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