Saturday, January 7, 2012

Landscape as a theme in paintings.

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Landscape has always been a major theme that has interested artists throughout the ages. It is a subject that has constantly surrounded artists and people are looking at landscapes everyday, whether they are aware of it or not. Landscape is the scenery of a land area and has been depicted in many different forms by many different people. It is a subject that can, and has been, widely interpreted, some artists using an impressionist approach while others may prefer to use surrealism to capture the essence of the scene.

The first piece of art work is that of an Australian titled ‘The Pioneer’. It was painted by Frederick McCubbin, who was an Australian impressionist, in 104 with oil on canvas. The large painting is divided into panels, each representing different years. The piece of artwork is painted to tell a story with the panels being the beginning, middle and end. The first panel shows a young couple pushing into the depths of the bush to a clearing and Frederick has used soft colours to indicate twilight and the beginning. In the second panel the couple is still the main focus in the clearing, this time with a young child and it can be seen in the background that the bush is being cleared to make way for a cottage. The soft light has disappeared and it seems to be midday. The last panel shows a young man, presumably the child from the second panel, clearing branches from a grave in the clearing. The city can be seen developing in the background and this last painting has a sense of moving on, a new beginning. It was inspired by the early Australian life, that of the pioneering Australian settlement and captures the natural light and colours of the early Australian bush.

Pieter Bruegal the Elder was a Dutch landscape artist in the 16th century. His art piece ‘Hunters in the Snow’ (1565) was painted in his typical style of renaissance and was done on oak panel using tempera. The scene displays typical peasant life in the country, as this was the theme the Pieter felt most comfortably portraying. There are hunters with their dogs overlooking the snow covered village, overlooking other villagers skating on a frozen lake. Pieter has used dark glooming colours to portray the coldness in the scene and has included three black crows flying above as if to represent a sense of despair. Pieter uses a lot of fine detail in his paintings and uses characteristics such as crowding of his subjects to indicate boisterous movement. Pieter was a keen observer and liked to include meanings behind the veneer of the commonplace in his paintings.

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The final painting is Untitled (landscape) 148 by Salvador Dali. Salvador was a surrealism artist and this is evident in this painting. Using oil on canvas Salvador has depicted an almost cartoon like scene with a huge protruding rock on a plain with a couple of bare trees and a huge expanse of sky and cloud. The large amount of sky space and the emptiness of the ground help to make the rock appear bigger. There are two figures on horseback riding towards the rock as if about to collide into it and another figure at the top of the rock. Salvador Dali makes no effort in this painting to convey real images as can be seen in his use of bright colours and he is more interested in making an interpretation and portraying emotions or messages about life. He may be suggesting that even when everything around someone is clear it is still inevitable that they collide with the one thing that is there.

Three different paintings from different time periods have been looked at that all revolve around landscape. From highly realistic to idealistic the interpretations of the landscapes vary greatly and the different artists display a variety of techniques to depict these landscapes. The pieces of art are so different because of the different time and place that they were based on when completed. The artists’ own interpretation of life also becomes very evident in their paintings. Demonstrated by the three paintings is that landscape as a theme can be very diverse and interpreted in many, many ways.

G. Hopwood Handbook of Art Graham Hopwood, 171. Pg

J. Clarke, B. Whitelaw Golden Summers International Cultural Heidelberg & Beyond Corporation of Australia Ltd, 185, Pg 148, 14

R. Descharnes http// Mishka, �00-00



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