The word landscape comes from the French pays, which means "country, area". A landscape is an image of nature or a location. This term can be called a genre in the visual arts or a separate work.
People began to depict nature as early as the Neolithic period. This genre does not disappear in the civilizations of the Ancient East either. All drawings of that time can be roughly divided into two groups. The first includes those in which a person reflected his ideas about the structure of the universe. In them, the firmament, the cardinal points, the sun acquire a generalized meaning. In "landscapes" of the second type, nature was the background against which significant events for a person unfolded - hunting, fishing, wars.
Since the 13th century, the landscape has been actively developing in the culture of the East. By the 17th century, images of nature convey an attitude towards it as a special magical sphere filled with ideal sublime features. To emphasize this, the artists used pure bright colors and decorative "flat" composition.
The landscape became especially important for the art of China. Philosophical ideas about the world were reflected in it, so the paintings were supplemented with inscriptions, and individual elements were filled with symbolic meaning (bamboo, plum, pine). These trends influenced Japanese art and were complemented by a special graphic and decorative landscape.
In the West, by this time, nature began to be conceptualized not only as the external world, but also as a reflection of the internal one. However, the landscape most often remained, although significant, but still a secondary detail of the work. It turned into an independent genre during the Renaissance. First in graphic works (A. Dürer, artists of the Danube school), and then in painting. Moreover, neither urban views, which characterize the connection between nature and man (Italian artists), nor wild landscapes, which are gaining an ever greater scope (German and Dutch masters), are ignored.
In the era of classicism, a three-sided backstage composition of the landscape was established and its ethical component became especially important. Baroque art emphasizes the elemental power of nature, while Velazquez, Goyen, Ruisdael and Rembrandt bring freshness and airiness to the image of nature, developing a light-air perspective.
At the end of the 18th - beginning of the 19th centuries. the landscape is influenced by romanticism. This trend is characterized by the interweaving of states of soul and nature, which is reflected in the paintings of that period. A sensitive perception of the surrounding world and the desire to convey the uniqueness of each type brought the landscape to the period of realism, which was most clearly manifested in the second half of the 19th century. Artists (K. Corot, G. Courbet, the Barbizon and Hague schools, the Wanderers) depict the simplicity and naturalness of nature, striving through such a pure and honest reproduction of natural processes to show its inner dignity.
The landscape became especially important for the Impressionists, who sought to capture and convey the living breath of nature and its changeable state (both in the wild and in the urban environment). However, by the beginning of the 20th century, several new approaches to depicting nature appeared. P. Cezanne sees her as monumental, strong, free from human influence. V. van Gogh - animated, emotional, almost humanly tragic. Adherents of Symbolism and Art Nouveau capture the "blood" connection between man and mother earth and reflect it with the help of symbols, natural ornaments, elaboration of details.
Representatives of modernist currents emphasize the dynamic tension of the landscape, deform it and bring it closer to abstract art (P. Klee, V. Kandinsky). The relationship between man-made landscape and nature is being rethought. Some artists contrast the serene types of tension in the urban environment. Others accentuate the "anti-natural" nature of the industrial landscape and emphasize the loneliness of man in it. These seemingly opposite points of view on the relationship between man and nature coexist in the landscape genre, creating an integral picture of the surrounding world.