A Brief History Of Landscape Painting Of Cities

A Brief History Of Landscape Painting Of Cities

Just like there is no conclusive consensus about the exact date of birth of the first city, there is no practical way to definitively establish a precise date of start of the history of cityscape painting. The earliest evidence of a landscape painting dated back to about 1550 BCE was found in the city of Akrotiri, on the Greek island of Santorini. The enigmatic fresco painting called the “Ship Procession Fresco” or “The Flotilla Fresco” depicted a boat trip between two fortified cities, which are, however, not the protagonists of the composition. Something similar was also reported in 1997 on the Baths of Trajan, Rome. The painting was called the “City Fresco” which depicted an aerial view of a coastal city, which could be real or imagined, and is largely considered the first complete cityscape in the history of painting. Some Roman fresco paintings depicting coastal cities in part have also been found in Stabiae near Pompeii.

cityscape painting


Partial representations of cities can be found throughout the Middle Ages where they are used as backgrounds in several illuminated manuscripts, without actually achieving a specific role in the composition. However, Western art began to revive in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century and thanks to artists such as Cimabue, Duccio da Buonisegna and Giotto di Bondone, among others, European painting became free from the rigid Byzantine tradition, reworking its soul and beginning new paths. Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted the fresco painting “City by the Sea” in 1335, usually considered the first actual landscape of a city in the history of Western Art. However, his “Allegory of Good Government”, which, with its many chromatic planes, lacking perspective, is extremely remarkable and seems to enigmatically anticipate certain paintings from the early twentieth-century experimental era, such as those by Klimt and Schiele.

Even though small bright cityscapes appeared as backgrounds in some paintings by the most famous artists of that era, like Piero Della Francesca’s “Saint Helena and the Holy Cross”, interest in cityscape painting that began with Lorenzetti did not create a remarkable continuous tradition in Italy until the late fifteenth century. Some Venetian painters at the time, most notably Gentile Bellini and Vittore Carpaccio, created what is today considered the first Golden Age of cityscape painting in Western Art, a short but remarkable prelude to the veduta painting.

landscape paintings

Even though many of the most notable artists at the time included beautiful representations of cities as backgrounds like Albrecht Altdorfer’s “Battle of Alexander at Issus” in 1529, there was no tradition of cityscape painting in northern Europe. However, remarkable experiments in urban landscapes were carried out in Renaissance Germany by engravers and printers like Michael Wolgemut.

10 Factors That Make Paintings Expensive

10 Factors That Make Paintings Expensive

A 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting was sold at Sotheby’s for $110.5 million which made it the sixth most expensive artwork ever sold at an auction. You might have thought about what makes a canvas covered in paint amount to so much money. Here are ten reasons why paintings are valuable.


The primary element that sets a cheap painting apart from a costly one is its authenticity. An original Claude Monet painting is always going to be worth more than a copy of the same.


The provenance of artwork, or a rich history of who it belonged to previously, is another determining factor in the value of the artwork. For instance, if a painting used to be owned by a prominent collector or came from a highly esteemed gallery, it will be worth a lot more automatically.


The condition of the painting is yet another vital factor which affects its price. If, for instance, an artwork has a tear or sun damage, it can adversely affect its price by a great degree.

Historical Significance

If the artwork in question is a major player in the canon of art history, it can potentially add a few 0’s to its price right away.

Popularity Of The Artist

If the artist is very trendy at the time of sale, their work will cost much more, even if it has no real staying power.


If the work of art in question exhibits features of a famous artist that make them stand out, it will be worth a lot more. A cubist painting by Pablo Picasso, for instance, will typically cost more than one of his early landscapes, because people recognise Picasso for his extensive work on cubism.

Backstory Of The Artist

Interesting backstories of artists, like an early death, for instance, can affect the price of their paintings by leaps and bounds. This is because people love to know the story behind each painting, especially the one they want to buy, and the more attractive the backstory, the better the pricing will be. The artist’s early death can also increase the painting’s price because there are only a few paintings of the artist out there.



Artwork done on canvas will generally sell for more than artwork done on paper. In the same way, paintings will obviously sell for more than a sketch or, of course, a print.


Another factor that comes into play when determining a painting’s value is the colours involved. Paintings that contain red, historically cost more than ones with other colours.

Subject Matter

Artworks that depict certain subject matter tend to sell for a more significant amount than others. For example, even though there are exceptions here and there, paintings of beautiful women tend to be worth more than paintings of men. Sunny landscapes tend to sell better than dark ones and ships in calm seas sell for more compared to ships in a storm. These rules don’t apply when the artist in question is extremely famous.