Discipline: Art

(18th century)

Closely related to 18th- and 19th-century concepts of the SUBLIME and romanticism, the term is derived from the Italian word pittoresco meaning 'relating to a painter'.

It originally referred to landscape scenes which appeared to be copied from paintings by French artists like CLAUDE LORRAINE (1600-1682) and NICOLAS POUSSIN (1594-1665), but later developed into the reverse whereby painting directly mirrored the beauty of nature. The landscaped gardens of English designer 'Capability Brown' (1716-1783) were largely inspired by the notion of the picturesque.


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