18th century - Landscapes
The independent landscape began to develop in Western painting from the beginning of the 16th century. In the 18th century, the genre was dominated by specialists.
However, one of the high points of French landscape painting during the 18th century is the work of an animal painter, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, with his Louis XV Hunting the Stag in the Forest of Saint Germain. Although the painter focuses on the king's pack of dogs, the rendering of the atmosphere of a clearing is remarkable.
The genre of the veduta, a new type of urban view, develops in Venice with Canaletto then Guardi, in response to demand from travellers on the Grand Tour who wished to take home souvenirs of the city of the Doges. Guardi had planned for a career as a religious painter. It was the attraction of the market that drew him to this genre and he became one of its greatest artists with his Rialto Bridge.
In parallel with neoclassicism, with the landscapes of Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, a Toulousan artist, there was a return to the spirit of a living antiquity as embodied by Nicolas Poussin. Cicero Discovering the Tomb of Archimedes, his reception piece for the Académie royale de peinture (the Royal Academy for Painting) in 1787, is a meditation on ancient history, grandiose, where the landscape echoes the gravity of the subject. Valenciennes also created very modern sketches and was to manage to impose a prize for historical landscape at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Paris (the Paris Academy of Fine Arts) in 1817.
Pierre Henri de VALENCIENNES (Toulouse, 1750 - Paris, 1819),
Cicéron découvrant le tombeau d'Archimède,
Inv. D 1962 1
Photo : Daniel Martin