Landscape perceptions and experiences

The aims of this blog is
1) to gather material which helps us to view 'Landscape' from many different perspectives (Science, Phenomenology, Aesthetics, Ethics etc)
2) and secondly to record 'Landscape experiences' from our workshops (Reports) and my own experiences (Diary).
For our workshops see our website


History of Landscape Painting from around 1400 to 1920
A short synopsis.

The first painting is by Cimabue (before 1251-1302)

In this painting we see no landscape, neither any object related to our earthly life.
Golden background, spacelessness.
Two dimensional and that is what a painting really is!
Ideal picture, harmony, oneness and complete.
Infant is a small adult. Both are impersonal.
They are facing us.

The next painting is by Giotto(1267-1337)

Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple 1304/06
In this painting there is a division of heaven(blue) and earth (brown) and there is a tendency towards three-dimensional space.
And 'earthly' people are depicted too and are not facing us.

The next three are a series of illuminations depicting the twelve months of the year.
'Tres riches Heures du Duc de Berry' done by  the brothers Limbourg (1370-1416)
For the first time the activities of ordinary people are depicted, although stylised




The next painting is by the Flemish painter Robert Campin (1375-1444)


The next painting is by Jan van Eyck(1390-1441)
The Virgin with Chancellor Rolin
As you can see a landscape full of activity, but not how we actually see it.
Also the first time when a man accompanies a holy person in one painting.

Next are paintings by Pieter Breughel(1525-1569) in which every day life is depicted.

Next is a Rembrandt (1606-1669) and here the landscape has an identity of its own. There are people, but are not significant. And the more visual aspects, what we actually see, becomes more dominant.

The bridge

Next is Hobbema (1638-1709) with a scene from the countryside.

The alley at Middelharnis 1689

Next is a Vermeer and I think he is the painter, who depicts the way we see things in our normal daily life. In a way, on the one hand the greatest illusion; three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface and on the other hand perfect realism.


Now we go to Turner (1775-1851) where he is able to depict the atmosphere of a frosty morning and he become aware of the actual colours we see.
Frosty Morning 1813
A Constable (1776-1837)
Stour valley 1814
Two by Caspar Friedrich (1774-1840)

Next the American painter T Cole (1801-1848)
The oxbow 1836
And then we come to Impressionism.
First two by Monet (1840-1926)
Hayricks 1865

Sunrise 1872

This last painting is what started the Impressionism Movement and with Impressionism we start on the one hand to depict how things look at a particular moment(after an hour it will look different) and on the other hand what impression it gives.
This last theme is very well depicted in the next painting by Gauguin (1848-1903)

Swineherd 1888

This painting by Gauguin is in a certain way very unrealistic, but somehow shows the atmosphere of a wonderful spring day, perhaps a Sunday, when the farmer is meditating about the week to come?

Next three paintings by van Gogh (1869-1980)
Here we see the same scene under different circumstances and the experience of the three dimensions (perspective) is achieved not by design, but through colour. Also the activities (heat, warmth, air movement etc.) are depicted through colour

Next two are by Cezanne (1839-1906) and here we can see the transition from three dimensional painting back to two-dimensional.

Monte Sainte Victoire
Monte Sainte Victoire

As you see, we are nearly come to Cubism.

Next a couple of paintings by Kandinsky (1866-1944)

One of his early years and one of his later years

And then here one by Franz Marc(1840-1916)

I like to finish with a Delaunay (1885-1941)

Red tower 1911/23
Here we see that from now onwards painters started to depict modern life and what impressions it can have on us.
I would like to mention that at the turn of the century also photography came to the fore and this was an excellent method to show particular moments.
So in one way painting becomes more an object for us to engage with and not a picture of physical reality, and on the other hand through photography we have an excellent way of depicting unique moments of our physical surroundings.