Show Summary Details

Page of

 Printed from Grove Art Online. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 18 September 2019


  • John Dixon Hunt


Descriptive term that was formulated into an aesthetic category in late 18th-century Britain, with particular application to landscape scenery, landscape painting and garden and park design. The leading characteristics of picturesque landscape are irregularity, roughness and variety, and the more wild areas of the British Isles, which it was then thought best exhibited such characteristics, were frequently visited and minutely examined by those tourists who followed the cult of the Picturesque. Movement was an essential element of picturesque experience (and one that is hard to appreciate in static images.)

In its earliest and primary usage ‘picturesque’ denoted ‘as in or like a picture’. The Italian term pittoresco was current by 1654 when G. A. Costa applied it to architecture in Per la facciata del duomo di Milano; since the word is not included in Filippo Baldinucci’s Vocabulario toscano dell’arte del designo (1681), we may suppose, as did Uvedale Price, that it derived from usage in northern Italy by Venetian painters. There is an analogous Dutch usage (...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.