World landscape  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
"In Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx, Patinir utilised a Weltlandschaft ("world landscape") composition with a three-colour scheme typical of the Mannerist art—from brown in the foreground, to bluish-green, to pale blue in the background). This format, which Patiner is widely acknowledged as popularising, provides a bird's-eye view over an expansive landscape."

The world landscape, a translation of the German Weltlandschaft, is a type of composition in Western painting showing an imaginary panoramic landscape seen from an elevated viewpoint that includes mountains and lowlands, water, and buildings. The subject of each painting is usually a Biblical or historical narrative, but the figures comprising this narrative element are dwarfed by their surroundings.

The world landscape first appeared in painting in the work of the Early Netherlandish painter Joachim Patinir (c. 1480–1524), most of whose few surviving paintings are of this type, usually showing religious subjects, but commissioned by secular patrons. "They were imaginary compilations of the most appealing and spectacular aspects of European geography, assembled for the delight of the wealthy armchair traveler", giving "an idealized composite of the world taken in at a single Olympian glance".

The compositional type was taken up by a number of other Netherlandish artists, most famously Pieter Bruegel the Elder. There was a parallel development by Patinir's contemporary Albrecht Altdorfer and other artists of the Danube school. Although compositions of this broad type continued to be common until the 18th century and beyond, the term is usually only used to describe works from the Low Countries and Germany produced in the 16th century. The German term Weltlandschaft was first used by Eberhard Freiherr von Bodenhausen in 1905 with reference to Gerard David, and then in 1918 applied to Patinir's work by Ludwig von Baldass, defined as the depiction of "all that which seemed beautiful to the eye; the sea and the earth, mountains and plains, forests and fields, the castle and the hut".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "World landscape" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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