Landscapes

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View of Powerscourt Waterfall (c. 1760) by George Barret (1728/32-84)
Photo (c) National Gallery of Ireland

Irish artists are well known for painting landscapes. Landscapes are pictures that show the natural and man-made features of the land e.g. mountains, lakes, rivers, buildings etc.

Landscapes were very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many wealthy people hired artists to paint pictures of their houses and estates.


By the 19th century, Irish artists were travelling more to Europe. They saw new ways of painting landscapes from other artists in Europe, especially in France.

Two of these new styles of painting were Realism and Impressionism. Irish artists began to try painting in these new styles. They started using different brushstrokes and brighter colours in their paintings.

In the early 20th century, Ireland was fighting for independence from the United Kingdom (UK). A lot of people at this time wanted to show that they were Irish and not British. For this reason, many artists painted scenes from the West of Ireland e.g. Lakeside Cottage by Paul Henry. This type of scene showed a very different way of life from the UK.

A Morning in a City (1937) by Jack Yeats (1871-1957)
Estate of Jack B Yeats. All rights reserved, DACS 2009

Jack B. Yeats was one of the few artists in the early 20th century to paint city landscapes. One example is A Morning City. This was painting in 1937. City landscapes became more popular in the late 20th century.