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The history of landscape in six acts

Six-week art history and theory course

Short courses

11 June — 16 July 2018

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Part of our

Tacita Dean

events programme
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John Constable RA (1776 – 1837), Seascape Study: Boat and Stormy Sky (detail), ca. 1824-1828.

© Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond.

Oil on paper laid on board. 155 x 185 mm. © Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammon.

Leading art-world experts and international scholars deliver a unique perspective on the history of the depiction of landscape in art, from its origins in the Renaissance to the modern day, across a range of themes including forests, seascapes, gardens, deserts and cities.

The Italian humanist and collector Marcantionio Michiel (1484-1552) was the first person to use the term “landscape” to refer to the genre and to recognise its development in the acclaimed Venice art scene. However, it was in the same period, with the rise of the Protestant church and its rejection of overtly religious art, that landscape painting found wider popularity in Northern Europe.

Landscape appealed to the sensitivities of the Northern Renaissance for its decorative qualities. The German artist Albrecht Dürer is considered to have been the European pioneer of landscape painting, having documented his journey from Nuremberg to Venice in watercolour paintings and sketches. However, the practice was not yet widespread in Europe; it was not until the 19th century that landscape painting found its way into higher artistic discourses, when the French Academy created the Prize for Historic Landscape in 1817.

Since then, artists have continued to explore the genre. The Barbizon French painters gave birth to idealised classical landscapes while British landscape artists had to contend with the relatively low status of landscape in the Academy’s hierarchy of genres at a time when a burgeoning cultural nationalism was creating an enthusiastic market for British landscape scenery and seascapes.

At the end of the 19th century, with the arrival of photography, painters began to explore innovative approaches and interpretation of landscape. From the Impressionists whose en plein air approach broke with tradition and generated a radical new way of depicting landscape, to the Surrealists who created absurd and bizarre visual scenarios.

More recently landscape has gained an even wider definition; concepts like urban and industrial landscapes and landscape architecture are now included in the genre and envisioned by wider artistic approaches such as photography, collage, and digital art. Landscape is continuing to evolve and rise in popularity among artists and art lovers.

This course involves talks from tutors with experience of both researching and curating exhibitions around the theme of landscape. Focusing on a broadly chronological approach, this course will provide detailed discussion on the history of landscape art as a movement across the ages.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

11 June — 16 July 2018

British Academy Room, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£380. Includes all materials, light refreshments throughout and a drinks reception at the end of week six.

Book now