For Teachers  
  Learning Objectives  
  Assessment Questions  
  What is Landscape Painting?  
  The Context-19th Century America  
  The Artists  
  The Hudson River School  
  Think, Look & Compare Questions  
  Activities by Grade Level  
  Middle School  
  High School


What is Landscape Painting?

Landscape painting, the art of depicting views of nature, has its origins in Egyptian wall painting and the frescoes of Ancient Rome. The earliest American landscapes were illustrations of local cities and farms painted for residents, or for Europeans interested in the new nation. In the colonial era, landscape views were sometimes found in the background of portraits, possibly providing information about the sitter, or subject.

Many 19th century American artists considered that the essence of their new country was reflected in the landscape. With nature as a starting point, they developed a distinct artistic style. They combined an almost religious feeling for nature with the idea of a national identity. The celebration of the American natural world became widespread and established itself as the best way of expressing growing American nationalist sentiment. The first group of American landscape painters emerged in the 1820s and became known as the Hudson River School (not a school in the traditional sense, but a group of artists who defined themselves as part of a specific artistic movement.) Many of them painted in the Hudson River Valley, Catskills and/or Adirondack Mountains. They depicted native scenery, untamed and limitless in our new, young nation.








  © Copyright 2005, Currier Museum of Art. All text and images on this site are protected by copyright. Site credits >>