EUROPEAN ARTISTS : Painting Cities and Towns

Paris Street; Rainy Day
The Place de l'Europe, Paris, wet weather by Gustave Caillebotte [ Image courtesy By terren in Virginia ([1]) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons ]

Theme: Paintings of Feelings. Painting the Soul of Landscape. Painting the soul of City and the street. Paintings of Paris.

People have relationship with other people. Men have relationship with women, and vice versa. But all have relationships with the towns, cities and building with which they are attached or they love. The European artists clearly demonstrate their love for the cities and buildings.

If we want to feel the sense of a place; if we desire to experience the immediacy of a place, Painting of Gustave Caillebotte titled as Paris Street in Rainy Weather is one of the best sources. When an artist takes pen or pencil in hand, first thing he remembers is the scenes in immediate surrounding. There can hardly be better and easily available subjects for painting other than our own street or the road on which we drive daily. The European artists have chosen the same. They paint cities and towns since the culture of cities has evolved.

The Feeling: While standing on a street an artist would find the structure of buildings and level of sunlight falling on the place an alluring one. The lighted area and shadows would appeal the artist and he would be tempered to make out a painting that would represent the feeling he encountered. Resultant painting would essentially be the feeling of the artist while being on the pavement of street. For an artist, it would not be like a photographic representation of a scene; it would be mirror of the pleasure and the feeling he has gone thorough. And that is the real challenge before an artist who likes painting streets and towns. (Image courtesy Wikimedia commons).

Sketch: First thing an artist would think about would be making out a sketch of the cityscape pulsating before his or her eyes. There would be people; there would be animals; there would be mood of the air; and there would be signatures of seasons. All these would impress upon the artist and resulting sketch would be an immediate recording what he sees and feels. If it is day time, the most important aspect would be the recording of effect of light: the direction of light, the intensity of light and the visual impressions the light is making on each object on which it falls. The sketch would take care of these things.

The Painting: In Paris Street in Rainy Weather, we can see that it is geometrically divided into four parts. Horizontally divided by the horizon itself, and again vertically divided by the presence of an erect lamp-post. This creates an order in the space, making it aesthetically balanced. While exploring the tonal values of colours, the artist has taken care for the fact that each colour he used correctly fit in overall scheme of the painting. By this manner, the beauty and brilliancy of light is achieved depicting full tonal values of the colours used by Gustave Caillebotte. This

is the
Place de Dublin frome the rue de Moscou. In the place where Gustave Caillebotte painted "Street of Paris on rainy day". Paris, 8th arr. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

European Artists Exploring the Beauty in Cityscapes

The erection of residential and official palaces are other activities of ours that affect the natural view of landscapes. Habitation of people in towns and cities made this necessary. Commercial erections like ports and roads are changing the landscapes today. Landscape artists try showing these edifices and changes, by painting the erections done by men. Cityscape is one type of landscape painting. Painting attractive vistas of cities has been favourite subject for artists.

Cityscape - Jan var der Heden

Rising Popularity of Cityscape Painting: Until sixteenth century the cityscape painting was part of religious paintings. Thereafter the rise in tourism increased people’s interest in and popularity of the paintings depicting cityscape. The painters in Netherland and Italy took initiatives in painting these cityscapes. The artists who preferred doing cityscape painting tried showing harmonious relationship between the people living in cities and living in villages. The cities were depicted as meeting points of two cultures. Increasingly these cities would become the centers of most of the commercial activities.

In the above painting he artist Jan van der Heyden has tried depicting the soul of the city. This painting also tries to show how the people became different than those of loving in villages. We can see a woman fetching water from a water pump and some men leisurely talking. Once it is sunrise, the people from other places enter into a city for their different purposes. All these aspects painted here try creating an honest picture of the contemporary cities. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

In another painting Jan van der Heyden had depicted outer elevation of the Town Hall of the city of Amsterdam. This painting was done in 1698. During the second half of sixteenth century, the towns of European countries have become seats of economic and political power. In some countries, the power of people was also on the rise. The cities were not only the collection of residential buildings of the rulers and noblemen only. They had become the part of entire population. So they were pride of these people in general, too. The cities have become the symbol of rapid changes of the life and culture of the people. (Image Courtesy Town Hall of Amsterdam, Wikimedia Commons)

European Artist Adoring the Natural Beauty

The artists while painting a landscape know that nature has its own order. The paint brushes, colours with all of their tonal values and hues and blank canvases: using these tools, they try recreating the order embedded in nature.

Madonna del Sasso, Ferdinand Feldh├╝tter

The nature has seasons coming and going by turn; it has rain and snowfall as per the climatic timetable. Thus every natural event occurring on the surface of land is more or less is an integral part of an ordered system of the nature. While painting this beauty in its every shade and mood, the artists also try to depict the hidden order embedded in the landscape he or she paints. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

When the landscape artists include the objects created by human endeavours, they would depict their characteristics into the artworks. The paintings of well-tilled farm or straight rows of planted trees witness man’s capacity to effect beautiful changes. The green shield of waving crops in farms; the water canals and forestation of dry lands depict human desire to create a relationship with the nature. These activities have greatly helped the natural forces to sustain greater order in natural balance, too. The landscape painter puts this relationship on canvas.

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