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Landscape Painting: A History 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0789209023
ISBN-10: 0789209020
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

From Greek pastorals to the romantic drama of the Hudson River school, artists have envisioned landscapes as emblems of the divine, images of dominion, or reflections of inner worlds. The story of landscape painting is in many ways the story of Western civilization itself, as artists contrast the menace and glory of wilderness with the bounty and safety of cultivation and consider humankind's place in the great web of life. Then, too, there is the story of painting's ongoing stylistic evolution. Art historian Buttner addresses every facet of landscape painting with erudition, acute perception, and finesse in a majestic volume as generous in size and narrative depth as the vistas it showcases and interprets. Buttner's sweeping history unfolds century by century, country by country, beginning with a first-century B.C.E. Roman fresco and concluding with Georgia O'Keeffe. Buttner analyzes paintings by dozens of artists, including Giorgione, Brueghel, Poussin, Jacob van Ruisdael, Albert Bierstadt, and the impressionists, lingering over works that combine "a clear and precise depiction of reality with an intriguing ambiguity." Donna Seaman
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"Assuredly, no one will ever write the definitive history of landscape that will please everyone, but Nils Büttner, author of The Invention of the Landscape, comes as close to the ideal of what such a history of the genre might be in this impressive tome. Lavishly and magnificently illustrated, Landscape Painting: A History covers a range of time that begins in antiquity and ends in the present. As with any such compendium, selection must occur (which is why Büttner calls it “a” history and not “the” history), but it must at all costs strive to be as inclusive as possible, and this he has done with considerable thought and care. Whatever your predilections and favorites, this is one book that is destined to be a favorite for a great many aficionados of the landscape painting." —Art Times

"This powerful, comprehensive history of landscape painting is lavishly illustrated with reproductions of paintings from ancient times to the present... Strengths in this beautiful volume are apparent. Text and illustrations are skillfully integrated. Pictorial details are introduced where appropriate, each supporting the other; they enhance the text so readers can better understand and appreciate the image. The text itself is lucid as well as highly readable. Illustrations, some unfamiliar, strengthen the scholarly premises that the author develops. Büttner approaches his content in a narrative, almost vernacular manner, making this book appealing intellectually as well as aesthetically. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." —Choice Magazine
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789209020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789209023
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 1.7 x 13.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book because of the scholarship, not the reproductions. Ironically, I am going to only address the color plates in this review. After its arrival, I realized it is very much about the reproductions. It is large, very heavy and is mostly pictures rather than text. That is very generous on one hand but at a price. But the cost is reason to not just buy out of impulse. It is currently new online for at little as $65 to $92, and is $135 (list price) largely because of the enormous costs per unit in printing so many reproductions at such a large scale. The people who did the separations, the book design and production team as well as the level of printing are all top notch. The quality of the paper and of the printing are superb--no question. Nonetheless, none of them create the content and that is the problem.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, success did NOT result in over half of this giant's reproductions so I must politely disagree with my fellow reviewers. Too many reproductions do not look remarkably like the original paintings and too many do not stand on their own as good reproductions apart from their verisimilitude. Let's say, at minimum that there is simply a difference of opinion here. It matters because, I think you should not buy the book unseen. The reason why the book does not reach its full potential is, for the most-part, caused by the uneven quality of the files and film supplied by the many museums of art who own the wide range of paintings they granted permission to reproduce here for a fee. You can see the same problems repeat.
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Format: Hardcover
I own a lot of art books, and this one has the BEST REPRODUCTIONS I HAVE EVER SEEN. Each painting is printed as large as possible, with near perfect color and detail reproduction. Viewing the paintings in this book are almost as good as seeing them in a museum. Somebody paid a lot of time and attention to quality control when printing this book.
Whoever selected the pieces did a great job; landscape paintings throughout the history of western art, not always the obvious choice from particular artists, but all great paintings.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few books anymore give one a sumptuous pleasure, not quite self-indulgence (the love of art can never truly be self-indulgent), but the satisfaction of sensual and intellectual stimulation. This is a ravishing art book, with an extremely good -- and, most of the time, not very predictable -- selection of paintings spanning centuries of landscape painting history. Very thick and very heavy, it's not a book, logistically speaking, to curl up in bed with; instead, enjoy it on a peaceful evening with a fresh cup of coffee at hand and some lovely music in the background. It will, as only the best art books can, not merely refresh your eyes and your spirit, but it might actually renew some of your faith in humanity in a world that -- let's face it -- is increasingly like a beserk insane asylum. And isn't that, after all, what art and books have been about all along?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an academic, landscape architect, and amateur landscape painter, I find it interesting what others may say about the subject, because personal experience, training, and culture guide what is presented and not presented-- any book often says more about the paradigms and perspectives of the authors then about the actual subject they are writing about. It is not easy to write a history of such an extensive subject. If one has never thought much about the subject, one will learn about the general trends and the basic evolution of landscape painting from a Western perspective. To learn the nuances of landscape painting, its diversity, influences, and approaches is a lifetime of exploration. I can understand why Canadians often feel ignored. Historic and significant landscape painting by the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, and Emily Carr were not included. As an American, these Canadian paintings energized me as a teenager to strive to see landscape in a different way and were much more influential for me then European painters from any period. And as an American from the center of North America, the en plein air paintings of George Catlin integrating exploration, anthropology, and landscape painting together was especially influential. The paintings and large dioramas by Francis Lee Jacques depicting landscape accurately and scientifically, blending landscape painting with wildlife painting were also extremely formative, but the book does not cover such details.Read more ›
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