Landscape painting depicts the physical world that surrounds us and includes features such as mountains, valleys, vegetation, and bodies of water. The sky is another important element shaping the mood of landscape paintings. Landscape art ranges from highly detailed and realistic to impressionistic, romantic and idealized. While oil landscape painting predominates, acrylic, and even mixed media are common mediums.
One can trace early representations of landscape to the Minoan period. In many ancient cultures landscape frescoes and seccoes served as an extension of nature. Dutch painters of the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries that landscape painting became established as an independent genre. Partially inspired by Transcendentalism and the Naturalist movement, landscape painting became an even more important art form in the 1800s. The impact landscape painting had during this time period was so powerful it required people “to assume that the appreciation of natural beauty and the painting of landscape is a normal and enduring part of our spiritual activity."
Contemporary landscapes often feature the human hand; buildings, roads, fences. One of the popular trends in contemporary landscape painting is plein air painting, said to convey nature in a fuller way than studio painting.