Modern Art Paintings Of City Scapes
The term ‘cityscape’ is defined as the urban vocabulary for the word landscape. The word townscape would mean the same as cityscape except for the underlying differences that exist between a city and a town in terms of size and modernism. Thus, a cityscape painting highlights the external attributes of a city or any urban site. Large scale paintings of cityscapes are known as Veduta.
Numerous methodologies have been utilized over the years to represent cityscape in visual art. Probably the first one dates back to first century A.D in the form of a fresco at the Baths of Trajan in Rome portraying a bird's eye view of an ancient city. The Middle Ages witnessed cityscapes in the form of backdrops for portraits and religious themes. Between the 16th and 18th century various copperplate prints and etchings were created exhibiting cities in bird’s eye view, the main objective being to furnish a map-like overview.
Cityscape developed its own individuality and potential towards the middle phase of the 17th century in the Netherlands. One of the most distinguished works in this regime was that of Jan Vermeer. His famous painting entitled, ‘View of Delft’ created in 1660-1661 gave the panorama of the city with exact precision. In the years thereafter, cities such as Amsterdam, Haarlem and The Hague were used as themes of such paintings. Artists from other countries like France, Great Britain and Germany also took up this art form. Cityscapes were in full limelight in the 18th century in Venice. Towards the conclusion of the 19th century, the art form of impressionism demonstrated cityscapes stressing on the facets of routine life in a city. Industrial and railway areas and building sites were the favourite subjects. However, cityscapes starting losing their importance during the 20th century and the spotlight shifted towards abstract and conceptual art. Nevertheless, some loyalists such as the American painter Edward Hopper continued painting cityscapes of American scenes.
The theme of cityscapes again revived towards the end of the 20th century with figurative art entering into the creative domain. Some of the distinguished artists in the field of cityscape paintings include Alfred Sisley, Johannes Vermeer, Rackstraw Downes, Antonio López García, and Richard Estes. The American artist Yvonne Jacquette specializes in cityscapes.
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