Today, instantaneously capturing a landscape or city in pictures with one’s smartphone is a matter of course. But when, in times of a pandemic, travelling can suddenly not be taken for granted any more, this sharpens the eye for our own surroundings, as well as for artistic investigations into the landscape, the depiction of which has undergone exciting developments.
For this largest-ever survey of the history of landscape painting, the ALBERTINA MUSEUM is opening up its treasure trove to show world-famous masterpieces alongside unique works that haven’t been seen publicly in decades. Visitors can look forward to strolling through a diverse assemblage of over 170 landscape paintings from five centuries. On view are spectacular key works from Dürer, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Boucher, Caspar David Friedrich, Menzel, Jakob Alt, Rudolf von Alt, Cézanne, Emil Nolde or Paul Klee. One of the eight rooms of the exhibition is dedicated to Dutch landscapes of the Golden Age.
From the beginnings of the autonomous landscape painting and from its pioneers, foremost among them Albrecht Dürer, the historical arc traced here extends to encompass Bruegel, Rembrandt, and the Dutch Golden Age, urban panoramas from the Renaissance and close-up vedute, utopian visions of Arcadian landscapes and illusionless, realistic views of nature from the age of industrialization, and images of grandeur and the sublime by Caspar David Friedrich as well as the horrific visions and dystopias of Alfred Kubin and the child-like dreams of playful nature originated by Paul Klee. Key works of romantic landscape and Austrian watercolor painting from the 19th century such as Jakob and Rudolf von Alt’s views of Vienna round off this presentation.
The major part was acquired by the museum’s founder, Duke Albert of Saxony-Teschen (1738–1822), who was primarily interested in highly finished, large-size landscape drawings of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: for example, he collected landscapes by Adrian Zingg and his students because of their artistic quality and because they reminded him of his former homeland Saxony. During his last years in particular, Duke Albert concentrated on the acquisition of landscapes, an exquisite selection of which is presented here.