Urban Landscape

11,499 artworks, 2,494 artists
The main subject of urban landscape paintings is the image of a city with its individual houses, streets, squares, and panoramic views.

The first images of urban buildings appeared in the paintings of the Middle Ages artists. As a rule, they served as a backdrop, a kind of clue for the viewer, helping to imagine the place where the events painted on the canvas take place, so they did not contain much detail.

Urban landscape began to take shape as an independent genre at the turn of the 15—16th centuries. In the paintings by the artists of that time, two cities became central subjects: Jerusalem in Heaven, which symbolized everything sublime, spiritual and divine, and its opposite – the Tower of Babel, a symbol of pride, sin and evil. At the same time, Dutch painters were trying to transfer the images of the reality they lived in to their canvases: for example, the Limburg brothers created miniatures, in which the castles of Île-de-France were painted in detail, and Rogier van der Weyden used city as part of a landscape background for his painting of St. Luke.

Following the Dutch painters, German and French brush masters address to the urban landscape. The 15—16th century paintings in the genre of urban landscape, were distinguished by a carefully designed compositions abiding to the laws of perspective, as well as the detailed drawing of the architectural elements. Examples of such canvases are “The Courtyard of the Castle in Innsbruck with Clouds” by Dürer, “Entry of Christ into Jerusalem” (unknown artist), “The Marriage of the Virgin” by Raphael, “Christ on the Mount of Olives” by Mantegna.

In the 17th century, the genre of urban landscape became popular among Dutch painters. Vermeer, Berkheide, Hayden, ReisdahlGoyen and other artists created masterpieces, skilfully depicting everyday subjects framed by the urban landscape. Thanks to them, today we can see what Amsterdam, Delft, Haarlem and other cities looked like more than four hundred years ago.

In the paintings by the 18th century artists, city is a carefully traced veduta, the feature of which is the almost photographic accuracy of the image. The architectural background not only serves as a decoration for everyday subjects, but also conveys the special spirit inherent in each city. In contrast to a veduta, full of life, there can be a landscape with city ruins – artists found special charm in the ruins of ancient castles and fortresses. By the 19th century, images of ancient temples, as well as road sketches with city views, became fashionable.

Arthive offers you a selection of paintings made in the genre of urban landscape. Here you will find artworks by famous masters and canvases by the emerging artists. Enjoy your viewing!
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