18th Century Old Masters Paintings
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17th Century Old Masters Paintings
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16th Century Old Masters Paintings
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17th Century Old Masters Paintings
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A Close Look at Old Masters Art
Encompassing centuries of change in Europe between 1300 and 1800, from booms of prosperity to bloody revolutions, Old Masters describes a wide range of artists. The informal term was derived from the title of an artist who trained in a guild long enough to become a master, such as Leonardo da Vinci, who studied in a Florence painters’ guild. However, Old Masters paintings, prints and other art is now used to refer to work made by any artist with a high level of skill in painting, drawing, sculpture or printmaking who worked during this era.
The 15th century’s expansive trade and commerce spread culture across borders. A vibrant period of art emerged, bolstered by studies of anatomy and nature that influenced a new visual realism. From Raphael and Michelangelo in the Renaissance to Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer in the Dutch Golden Age, artists expressed emotion, naturalism, color and light in new ways. El Greco and Paolo Veronese were leaders in the dramatic style of Mannerism, while Caravaggio and Peter Paul Rubens demonstrated the movement and meticulous detail of Baroque art.
Historically, most attention was concentrated on male artists, but recent research and exhibitions have elevated the impactful work of women such as Rachel Ruysch and Artemisia Gentileschi. In late-18th-century France, female artists like Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun were prominent names. Nevertheless, access to the academies and guilds was highly restricted for women, and even those able to establish practices were expected to adhere to portraits and still lifes rather than the grand history paintings being created by men.
Find a collection of Old Masters prints, paintings, drawings and watercolors and other art on 1stDibs.
Finding the Right landscape-paintings for You
It could be argued that cave walls were the canvases for the world’s first landscape paintings, which depict and elevate natural scenery through art, but there is a richer history to consider.
The Netherlands was home to landscapes as a major theme in painting as early as the 1500s, and ink-on-silk paintings in China featured mountains and large bodies of water as far back as the third century. Greeks created vast wall paintings that depicted landscapes and grandiose garden scenes, while in the late 15th century and early 16th century, landscapes were increasingly the subject of watercolor works by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Fra Bartolomeo.
The popularity of religious paintings eventually declined altogether, and by the early 19th century, painters of classical landscapes took to painting out-of-doors (plein-air painting). Paintings of natural scenery were increasingly realistic but romanticized too. Into the 20th century, landscapes remained a major theme for many artists, and while the term “landscape painting” may call to mind images of lush, grassy fields and open seascapes, the genre is characterized by more variety, colors and diverse styles than you may think. Painters working in the photorealist style of landscape painting, for example, seek to create works so lifelike that you may confuse their paint for camera pixels. But if you’re shopping for art to outfit an important room, the work needs to be something with a bit of gravitas (and the right frame is important, too).
Adding a landscape painting to your home can introduce peace and serenity within the confines of your own space. (Some may think of it as an aspirational window of sorts rather than a canvas.) Abstract landscape paintings by the likes of Korean painter Seungyoon Choi or Georgia-based artist Katherine Sandoz, on the other hand, bring pops of color and movement into a room. These landscapes refuse to serve as a background. Elsewhere, Adam Straus’s technology-inspired paintings highlight how our extreme involvement with our devices has removed us from the glory of the world around us. Influenced by modern life and steeped in social commentary, Straus’s landscape paintings make us see our surroundings anew.