10 Most Famous Landscape Artists And Their Masterpieces
From oil paintings to digital artworks, landscape artists have used their talents to capture nature's splendor throughout history.
Whether you're an aspiring landscape artist or just a fan of the genre, there's a lot to learn about the beauty and variety of landscape painting. In this piece, we'll take a look back at some of art history's most celebrated landscape painters and explore the works that made them household names.
1. Joseph Mallord William Turner
Joseph Mallord William Turner was a Romanticist landscape painter from England who is often listed among the top artists of all time. He gained fame for his groundbreaking techniques in depicting natural phenomena, especially light and color, on canvas.
Turner was dubbed "the painter of light" for his use of light and shadow, which he achieved with powerful brushstrokes and bright hues. The stunning seascapes he painted and his overall ability to capture the majesty and power of nature earned him widespread acclaim.
The modern landscape painting genre owes much to Turner's groundbreaking methods and unique aesthetic vision, which influenced other artists who followed after him.
Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth by Joseph Mallord William Turner
It was in 1842 that J.M.W. Turner painted Snow Storm, Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth in oil. The image shows a steamboat making its way across choppy waters during a snowstorm.
Many art experts agree that this picture is a prime illustration of Turner's talent for conveying the awesomeness of nature via his art.
The painting's use of light and color to communicate the atmosphere of the stormy sea is especially noteworthy, as is the artist's use of free brushwork to give a feeling of movement and energy.
Among the most cherished of Turner's works, it is widely regarded as a pinnacle of Romantic landscape painting. Its current home is London's Tate Britain.
2. Claude Monet
The French Impressionist Claude Monet was born in 1840 and passed away in 1926. Water lilies, haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, and the Houses of Parliament in London are just few of the subjects of his series paintings that made him a pioneer of the Impressionist style.
To capture the transient effects of light and color in his scenes, Monet developed a new painting technique that marked a radical break from conventional practices at the time.
His works were characterized by a sense of movement and atmosphere achieved in part by his signature loose brushwork and use of bright, light-filled hues.
It is safe to say that Monet's unique approach and command of light and color had a significant impact on the growth of modern art and continue to have a significant impact on painters working today.
Houses of Parliament, Sunset by Claude Monet
Claude Monet painted a series called Houses of Parliament, Sunset, which features the British Parliament Buildings in London.
Monet painted several scenes of the Houses of Parliament, including ones at sunrise and sunset, inspired by the way light played on the structure at certain times. Monet's use of bold, luminous colors and a free, gestural brushstyle portrays the shifting emotions and atmospheres of the scenes he paints.
These paintings are among Monet's most celebrated because they showcase his groundbreaking techniques for depicting the interaction of light and color in his subjects. They are exemplary works of art in the Impressionist genre and are held in the highest esteem.
3. Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole was a prominent member of the Hudson River School of American painters, who celebrated the country's scenic landscapes. He moved to the United States as a young man after being born in England.
Cole is known for his allegorical works, which address the social and political themes of his period. As well as his large-scale landscapes, which reflect the beauty and majesty of the American wilderness.
Cole was also a vocal supporter of protecting the natural wonders of the United States, and he was among the earliest artists in the country to campaign for protecting the environment.
His paintings of the American wilderness are now universally regarded as masterpieces of American landscape art and are often cited as examples of the genre.
The Course of Empire: Desolation by Thomas Cole
Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire: Desolation was painted in 1836. It's one of a set of five paintings chronicling the decline and fall of a made-up civilization, titled "The Course of Empire."
Cole depicts civilization's collapse in "Desolation," which features a deserted city encircled by a forested environment. Cole's opinion is that all great civilizations inevitably decline and that process is illustrated in his artwork.
As a masterwork of American landscape painting, "Desolation" is largely acknowledged as one of Cole's most significant works. It exemplifies Cole's skill in depicting the majesty and force of nature and his fascination with the interaction between human culture and the natural world.
4. John Constable
John Constable was a prominent English Romantic painter, famous for his picturesque landscapes of the English countryside. Often called the "father of the English landscape," he is widely regarded as one of the most influential and accomplished landscape artists of the 19th century.
Constable's skill at capturing the shifting moods of nature and his attention to detail made him a household name. His landscapes of Suffolk, where he spent his childhood, earned him widespread renown as an artist.
Constable is widely regarded as a key figure in the rise to prominence of landscape painting as an art form thanks to his attempts to depict the wonder, force, and grandeur of nature in his paintings.
Constable's paintings are some of the most celebrated examples of English Romantic art and are frequently cited as examples of the genre's finest work.
The Hay Wain by John Constable
It was in 1821 when John Constable painted The Hay Wain. It shows a haywain pulled by horses fording a river in Suffolk, England, close to Flatford Mill.
Among the best landscape works of the 19th century, this work is usually recognized as one of Constable's greatest achievements.
The beauty and strength of the English countryside are captured in "The Hay Wain," and the author's meticulous attention to detail and mastery of light and color make it stand out.
Recognized for its representation of a serene and lovely English landscape, the painting is a significant work of English Romantic art. One of Constable's best-known paintings, "The Hay Wain," is now permanently displayed at London's National Gallery.
5. Vincent van Gogh
Dutch post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh ranks high among the most influential artists of the modern era. He is often credited with laying the groundwork for modern art with his daring use of color, expressive brushwork, and groundbreaking approaches.
During his brief life, Van Gogh created an enormous body of work, comprising over 2,000 paintings, sketches, and watercolors. Paintings like "The Starry Night," "Sunflowers," "Irises," and "The Potato Eaters" are among his most well-known works.
Though he made significant contributions to the field of art, van Gogh was plagued by mental illness and financial hardships throughout his life and took his own life when he was 37 years old.
His works remain some of the most popular and highly prized in the world, and he is now universally recognized as one of the greatest artists in history.
Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh
In 1888 and 1889, Vincent van Gogh painted a sequence of works titled Sunflowers. They are multiple still-life paintings of sunflowers, most with a yellow background and a vase full of vivid yellow flowers.
Famous for their vivid color choices, dense impasto, and free-flowing brushstrokes, these paintings have gained widespread recognition. These paintings were painted by Van Gogh in the south of France, where he was moved by the sunflowers' purity and simplicity.
The paintings are meant to be a celebration of life and nature and are now widely regarded as some of the artist's most upbeat and positive creations.
Today, "Sunflowers" are one of the most popular and highly prized paintings in the world, and they are often considered to be one of van Gogh's most iconic and well-known works.
6. Philip Wilson Steer
British artist and educator Philip Wilson Steer lived in the early 20th century. He went to the Slade School of Fine Art in London after being born in Birkenhead.
Landscapes, seascapes, and portraits made Steer a household name, and he was a major player in the New English Art Club, a movement that sought to popularize modern British art.
His paintings were praised for their atmospheric and tonal qualities, as well as his mastery of light and mood. Steer was also a respected educator; several of his students went on to prominent careers in the arts. His legacy lives on with his works on display in museums and galleries all around the globe.
The Beach at Walberswick by Philip Wilson Steer
Philip Wilson Steer's painting "The Beach at Walberswick" depicts a sunny scene on a sandy beach with a group of people, possibly tourists, having fun.
The artwork is famous for its luminous quality, which conveys the joy of a summer day at the beach.
The works of French Impressionists like Monet and Renoir influenced Steer, who became identified with the English Impressionist style. A common theme in his landscapes and beach scenes is an attempt to freeze the transitory effects of light and color.
7. Caspar David Friedrich
One of the most influential artists in German history was Caspar David Friedrich, a Romantic painter from Germany.
Although he began his career as a landscape painter in his hometown of Greifswald, he moved to Dresden and stayed there for the rest of his life, where he became known for his distinctive style.
Paintings of Friedrich are distinguished by their dramatic and melancholy atmospheres and their emphasis on nature as a symbol of the fleeting nature of human life.
He was most recognized for his moody seascapes and paintings of rocky, mist-shrouded mountains that radiated force and majesty. Even today, Friedrich's works are revered for their ageless beauty and the depth with which they delve into the human condition.
They also had a profound impact on the rise of Romanticism in the visual arts and continue to inspire contemporary artists.
The Stages of Life by Caspar David Friedrich
The Stages of Life is often regarded as a pinnacle of Romantic painting and is widely recognized as one of Friedrich's most iconic pieces. The artwork is a visual portrayal of the cycle of life and death, since it symbolizes the progression of a person from childhood to old age.
The painting depicts a figure on a point looking out over a spectacular scene with the ocean in the distance. The artwork is well-known for the symbolic meanings it conveys and the way it uses light and dark to evoke a sense of reflection.
Currently, "The Stages of Life" is a part of the permanent collection at Germany's Kunsthalle Hamburg, where it is shown alongside other works of German Romantic art.
8. Paul Cézanne
France's post-Impressionist master Paul Cézanne ranks high among the century's top painters. Cézanne, a native of the French city of Aix-en-Provence, is widely regarded as a pivotal figure in the evolution of modern art due to his bold and experimental painting style.
His portraits, landscapes, and still lifes are iconic for their striking colors, powerful compositions, and thoughtful consideration of form and space.
Cézanne's revolutionary style greatly influenced the growth of 20th-century art trends like cubism and abstraction due to its emphasis on the simplicity of form and the investigation of the relationships between different shapes.
Cézanne is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential artists of the modern age, and his works may be found in major museum collections all over the world.
Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from Bellevue by Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne painted Mont Sainte-Victoire from Bellevue sometime between 1904 and 1906. This is an oil painting of the French mountain Mont Sainte-Victoire, as seen from the town of Bellevue.
The artwork stands out for its striking color palette, minimalistic approach to form, and investigation of spatial relationships. Throughout his career, Mont Sainte-Victoire was one of Cézanne's favorite themes to paint.
He depicted it multiple times. He was mesmerized by the mountain's irregular shape and the way it appeared in different lights and weather. The artwork is currently housed in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France.
9. Camille Pissarro
A Danish-French Impressionist, Camille Pissarro is often regarded as one of the most significant figures of Impressionism. Though he was born in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies, Pissarro spent the majority of his life in France, where he was friends with painters such as Monet, Cézanne, and Degas.
Scenes from contemporary life, including as city streets, rural landscapes, and bustling marketplaces, are frequently depicted in Pissarro's vibrantly colored, freely painted, and inventively composed works.
He revolutionized landscape painting by focusing on the effects of light and atmosphere and by attempting to capture the ever-shifting hues and tones of nature.
Jalais Hill, Pontoise by Camille Pissarro
This is an oil painting of Pontoise, France's Jalais Hill. This work is exemplary of Pissarro's groundbreaking method of landscape painting, which centered on the artist's desire to capture the ever-shifting moods and hues of nature through the use of light and atmosphere.
The painting captures the beauty of the environment and the emotion of the time with its vibrant colors, fluid brushwork, and inventive composition.
"Jalais Hill, Pontoise" is now in a private collection, although it's widely recognized as a significant piece of Pissarro's oeuvre and of French Impressionism as a whole.
10. Claude Lorrain
French Baroque painter Claude Lorrain is well renowned for his scenic landscapes. Though he lived the majority of his life in Italy, he was born in the northern French area of Lorraine, and the classical landscapes of the Roman countryside had a significant impact on his work.
Idealized landscapes, including ancient ruins, towering mountains, and placid seascapes, are common subjects in Claude's paintings. His ability to capture a scene's mood and ambiance through the use of light was legendary.
Many consider Claude to be the most significant landscape painter of the seventeenth century, and his paintings to have had a significant impact on the evolution of Western art.
Collectors and benefactors all throughout Europe sought out his work because of the depth and space he conveyed in his canvases. Many of the world's finest museums and private collections feature works by Claude Lorrain, who is now largely acknowledged as one of the greatest landscape painters in Western art.
The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba by Claude Lorrain
In the middle of the 1600s, Claude Lorrain painted The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba. It's an oil painting of the fabled Queen of Sheba setting out on her way to see King Solomon.
Claude Lorrain's distinctive idealized portrayals of nature and his expert use of light and atmosphere contribute to the painting's calming and beautiful feel.
A stunning seascape with ships and a distant city can be seen in the backdrop of the work, which features the Queen of Sheba and her fleet in the foreground.
Claude Lorrain's ability to paint landscapes that are both aesthetically pleasing and historically accurate is on display in "The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba."
There are many great artists in the history of landscape painting who have succeeded in depicting the splendor of the natural world. As always, works depicting natural settings manage to both enthrall and move viewers.
These well-known artists have shared how they've used their individual approaches to communicate stories, evoke emotions, and offer new insights into the natural world.
There is no denying the lasting influence of these artists; their creations continue to pique the interest of aspiring artists and art enthusiasts long after their deaths.