looking for something interesting to portray? Knowing what landscape is and what types of landscapes exist is essential if you’re an artist interested in putting a twist on your next creations. In addition, artistic landscapes are an excellent opportunity to enhance your creativity and improve your visual arts skills.
Although developing a landscape is not a simple or quick task, since it requires the artist’s observation and inspiration, we are sure that with a little practice and perseverance you will be able to capture all the details and techniques you want on the canvas.
Also, in this article you will discover what a landscape is, what is the technique to portray them and, above all, the main types of landscapes that exist. In this way, you will be able to find a scenery that strikes you and that you are interested in showing.
if you are already familiar with the different types of landscapes, this article will help you learn about new styles to recreate.
Below, we’ll show you two categories of landscape types: by drawing style and according to the elements of the composition.
Types of landscapes determined by drawing style
The art world is known for being a space where people can express what they seek to convey according to different techniques, which generally, emerged over time accompanied by other social movements. In this way, we can say that the types of landscapes according to style refer to much more than the personal taste of the painter.
As artistic currents emerged over time, we got used to see such and such types of landscapes, do you know those wonderful paintings made entirely by dots or painted? It’s called pointillism!
To get right into the subject, let’s see how landscapes are classified according to some of the most relevant styles in art:
1. Realistic landscape
This is the simplest and most elementary landscape style. In realistic landscape drawings, artists concentrate on showing or depicting landscapes as they observed them.
The great achievement of this type of landscape is to make a painting compare to real life, and as you can imagine, it requires great skill with technique to achieve the textures, proportions and lighting as we see it with our eyes.
In that sense, it is clear that in this type of landscape there is no room for fictitious scenery, extraordinary colors, filters or unrealistic effects. just like looking at a photograph!
2. Impressionist landscape
Impressionist landscape drawings are representations in which artists show a scenario of reality through their interpretation, where drawing a forest does not require precision or exact reproduction, because the artist tries to capture the moment the way he appreciated it. To achieve this type of landscapes, different methods and techniques are used, such as the application of atypical colors, lighting, shadows and contrasts.
To achieve this type of landscapes, different methods and techniques are used, such as the application of atypical colors, illumination, shadows and contrasts. Likewise, it is not expected to reach identical textures to those of the elements, but each artist achieves his figures in different ways.
Image: My Moder Met
3. Abstract landscape
With this type of landscape the artist has the freedom to express their creativity without limits, as they are free to alter the natural settings that exist, as well as to create their own imaginary scenarios.
According to the abstract artist, Jaison Cianelli, abstract landscape art can be carried out without any symbolic meaning; however, there are also cases where the abstraction represents an idea or expresses the artist’s inner emotions.
In this way, abstract landscape drawings show landscapes intentionally different from the ones we can witness on a daily basis, which are intended to be impressive and make viewers question reality.
Therefore, to develop this type of landscapes, artists have the freedom to use exaggerated shapes, unrealistic colors and textures, as well as any element that allows them to express and materialize their ideas.
Types of landscapes determined by the elements
you already know the types of landscapes according to the artistic current to which they belong! But as you can imagine, in each style of painting we can find different ways to compose a scenery. And these components are also known as elements.
Now, if you are wondering how landscapes are classified according to the elements that compose them, take note of the following types of landscapes:
1. Natural landscape
In this type of landscape the protagonism is given to the natural scenery. The objective is that artists, thanks to a previous observation process, reproduce or interpret the beauty of nature.
The most commonly used elements of the natural landscape are forests, jungles and deserts. The naturalistic landscape is one of the types of landscapes that focus on representing an abundant, grandiose and wild nature.
2. Urban landscape or cityscape
As we have seen, landscape art is usually related only to nature scenes, however, the artist can show the scenes that most excite him.
With this in mind, it is clear that urban and everyday landscapes are valid. These focus on the scenery, environments and elements of cities, such as people, buildings, cars and lights. Of course, these are loaded with the messages that the artist wants to convey.
Image: Discover Walks
3. Rural landscape
In this type of landscapes, the scenarios of the development of agricultural activity are shown, where you can see crops, fruit trees, livestock and rustic dwellings. Although this variety of landscapes is usually loaded with a lot of nature, it concentrates more on portraying the life of people in the countryside.
Image: My Modern Met
4. Dream landscape
This kind of landscape is also known as cosmic landscape and it is a fantastic, magical and unreal landscape. The dreamscape combines imaginary or dreamlike scenery with elements of reality, such as forests or cities.
In addition, in dreamscape drawings it is common to see themes related to space, as well as supernatural elements.
5. River landscape
do you love rivers or lakes and had thought about portraying them? excellent! River landscape art is for you, as it focuses on portraying the following bodies of water: rivers, lakes, waterfalls or aquifers. Undoubtedly, a spectacular work!
Some artists also highlight the sky and its various shades to bring more beauty to their work.
6. Seascape – coastal
In this type of landscape, everything related to marine life is given prominence: oceans, beaches and seas. Also, in this type of landscape, artists can take advantage of colors, shades and textures to represent the majesty of marine life.
Some artists also highlight the sky and its various shades to bring more beauty to their work.
7. Desert landscape
Among the types of landscapes in art that are classified by their structure or elements, we find the desert landscape. These paintings are characterized by portraying arid and mostly sunny weather environments.
The main characteristic of this type of landscape is the presence of large masses of sand that change color in different shades according to the time of day they are depicted.
The paintings that reflect desert landscapes are generally of sparse vegetation, with slight or moderate presence of prickly pears and cacti, also known as cactus. In some of these types of landscapes we can also find dromedary animals.
Source: Jacqueline Lavidalie – Guatemala
8. Savannah and plains landscape
Surely you have seen this type of landscape in more than one movie, but it is also very common in painting exhibitions. They are characterized by the presence of a large horizon composed of sparse vegetation (at ground level), some trees and the presence of lagoons.
In the case of landscapes of plains and savannahs, its elements will depend exclusively on the season to be portrayed. In summer, droughts are long and stain everything with yellow and orange colors due to the lack of water. In winter, on the contrary, some foliage turns green.
9. Costumbrista landscape
When we talk about types of costumbrist landscapes, we are not so much interested in the environment itself, but the main elements of the painting are the characters of the painting that materialize a custom or tradition of a time or society.
Of course, the environment is part of the meaning of this type of landscape, but what we should look for as a final objective is to transmit a culture. In this way, we will see traditional architecture, native vegetation and people performing activities that today we consider part of the tradition of the place.
Source: Marcela Moya
10. Ethereal landscape
We are coming to the end of our count of types of landscapes, and we can not fail to name a very particular style of painting. We understand the ethereal landscape as those paintings that seem to be made from the air. Whoever admires this landscape, definitely benefits from a privileged view.
Source: Yvone Jacquette
very nice! After knowing the types of landscapes that exist, you will surely be interested to know a little more about what are landscapes in art and how they have evolved over time. As we told you above, painting is not a whim of the author, but is framed in large social movements.
Evolution of the types of landscapes through the centuries
Now that you know what landscapes are and you have a clear idea of the different types of landscapes. It is important to mention howthe types of landscapes portrayed have evolved over time.
are you ready for this historical tour of the types of landscapes? let’s get started!
1. Middle Ages – 5th and 15th centuries
In this period, landscapes focused on popular portraits and storytelling, therefore, nature scenes were not so prominent. It is important to highlight that, the vast majority of landscapes that stand out in this period are related to religion and monarchy.
2. Modern Age – 16th Century
This period saw the development of the Renaissance, a movement in which natural landscapes and, above all, the sky took center stage. For the representation of the latter, artists reproduced the tonalities and changes produced by natural phenomena, such as the weather.
Landscapes at this time were characterized by showing the natural scenery, i.e., without people or buildings. At the same time, the main characteristic of the landscape types of this period was that they were idealistic, that is, they only showed the beauty of the scene.
3. Industrial Revolution – 19th Century
The type of landscape of this period includes elements of nature such as trees and sky, however, the protagonism was for buildings and architectural details that, being very innovative for the time, stole the attention from the natural scenery.
Also, during these years and at the beginning of the 20th century, impressionist, surrealist and futurist currents emerged, which included types of landscapes that prioritized the artist’s perspective over reality. As a result, the era was composed of abstract artistic landscapes.
We know you’re still thinking about the types of landscapes you can develop, but it’s time to know a little more about what a landscape is and the technique to achieve this type of art, don’t you think? That way, you will be able to master it without any problem.
Landscape as a work of art
We know that you are still thinking about the types of landscapes you can develop in your art, but, before you start sketching, it is essential to know what a landscape is, don’t you think? That way, you will be able to execute this type of art without any problem.
The landscape is a work of art whose main subject is the environment and nature, however, it is also a reflection and interpretation of the artist’s reality, for example, the impressionists included many points of light in their work, which are not seen in reality, while the realists made a faithful portrait of what they observe.
Following that line, according to My Modern Met:
“Landscape art refers to a genre of art defined by the focus on the natural setting as subject. […] Artists choose landscapes as their subjects for several reasons. In addition to wanting to depict or replicate obvious beauty, some artists choose to create these representations to study and explore different aesthetic elements such as light, color, and texture.”
In this way, landscapes today depict a wide variety of settings, environments, climates and moods that can be related to nature, urban life or whatever causes interest and emotion in the artist.
Therefore, landscapes in art are no longer limited to the basics, such as portraying a forest or a desolate beach, because, according to ThoughtCo: “landscapes can represent any setting and present subjects within them, such as buildings, animals and people”.
As you can see, within the types of landscapes there are very striking alternatives so that you can create a different, but above all, interesting work.
Landscape through contemplation
Having understood what a landscape is, you’re probably wondering how to draw one. To solve your doubts, let us tell you that you don’t have to worry too much because there are no set rules when it comes to the artist’s expression. great, isn’t it?
So, if you are interested in learning how to paint a landscape, you should keep in mind that observation is fundamental to do so, and this applies to all types of landscapes out there.
Therefore, no matter what discipline you are talking about, whether it is drawing or painting, what must be emphasized is that the artist, from contemplation, develops the need to capture a certain scenery, that is, a landscape worth being remembered and shown.
On the other hand, regarding the representation of the landscape through drawing, the website Nube Artística explains how to draw a landscape as follows:
“Each artist finds his own language for the representation of what the landscape suggests to him. Some are more meticulous in the drawing, others use a freer and more spontaneous stroke, some use only the line as an expressive element while others prefer to do it by means of the stain. Color can be used or not and we can make a very finished drawing or simply sketchy in which the forms appear insinuated”.
As you can see, representing a landscape in art is a process that gives the artist a lot of creative freedom, since there are no limits or defined structures to create a work. On the contrary, the more innovation that is brought to the drawing, the better.
Also, since the observation of the landscape is often done outdoors, this activity can be very relaxing. In relation to this point, Flor Chedufau, visual artist and teacher of the botanical art course with acrylics, explains that, in her case, the following happens:
“Nature offers me calm and tranquility, which I try to express in my murals. When I am working, the interior space is transformed into windows of contemplation where nature shows me the peace I need”.
In short, these are the basic steps you should follow if you want to paint any kind of landscape:
Contemplate an actual scene or draw inspiration from various sources to keep in mind what kind of landscape you want to paint.
Choose a suitable place to paint and gather all the materials.
On your canvas, decide where you will place the main elements of the scenery. Play with vanishing points and perspectives to achieve the effect you want.
Apply your favorite techniques and bring the blank canvas to life!
The most famous landscape artworks
need one last push of inspiration? We leave you with a list of the most recognized works of art in the world of landscaping and their authors. Now that you know all about the different types of landscapes, do you dare to guess which one belongs to which painting?
Garden in Arles by Vincent van Gogh
The famous Dutch artist is known for inspiring most of his works in nature and European urban landscapes. as we told you before, landscapes in painting are part of social movements and also of the author. For example, this period of his work portrays the moment when Van Gogh moves from Paris to Arles.
do you recognize the painting of the sunflowers? It is precisely in this period that the artist produced his best works, inspired by the wonderful types of landscapes that the south of France has to offer.
Source: Vincent van Gogh
Landscapes of Portlligat by Salvador Dalí
Another great artist of surrealist landscapes who was inspired by his place of residence is the well-known Salvador Dalí. The painter left as a legacy a series of works portraying his years in Portlligat, a small village on the Costa Brava that provided him with numerous landscapes and the best illuminations to turn them into art.
Source: Salvador Dalí
Richmond Castle, Yorkshire, by Alexander Keirincx
If your tastes lean towards the rural or nature type of landscapes, this is another artist that can serve as a source of inspiration and also as a case study. His story is quite particular, between 1639 and 1640 he was hired by King Charles I to create ten landscape paintings, mainly views of the king’s castles and houses in the north of England and Scotland.
In these landscapes we can see the perfect balance between art and topography, with aerial views he managed to capture the immensity of the scenery and buildings of the time. This type of landscapes definitely became a trend in a period of history.
Source: Alexander Keirincx
Rio dei Mendicanti, Venice, by John Singer Sargen
Like all other landscape painters, John Singer Sargen was inspired by his place in the world, Venice, Italy. Here the artist discovered scenery that challenged him as a painter and turned all his attention to the canal and architectural views, omitting human figures from his works altogether.
We can definitely consider this type of landscape as a perfect mix between urban and marine. we also recognize a very particular style, far from realism and perfection.
Source: John Singer Sargen
The Thames below Westminster by Claude Monet
could it be that landscape artists need to move their city of origin to exploit all their talent? Here we bring you another great example of landscape painting abroad, as is the case of Claude Monet who dedicated himself to portray the landscapes of London’s coasts since 1870.
Monet stayed at the Savoy Hotel, from where he painted the city he saw from his balconies achieving different types of landscapes in his works, although he also focused his attention to some of the most emblematic monuments of London, such as the Houses of Parliament.
Source: Claude Monet
We hope that with this article you will dare to explore and try to represent the different types of landscapes that exist regardless of disciplines, methods or techniques. As an artist, you decide what you want to express and how you are going to do it.
So, if you are ready to portray any of the types of landscapes we have mentioned, but want some help to get started, we recommend you take a look at our landscape templates to paint with watercolors. They will undoubtedly help you to take your first steps successfully.
On the other hand, if you’re having trouble getting inspired, we recommend that before you sit down in front of a canvas or a blank sheet of paper, you first look at the types of landscapes or scenery that nature and everyday life have to offer. You can start by checking out this list of the best landscapes in the world, they are amazing!
we look forward to seeing your next piece of art!