Glossary

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Picturesque

In the 18th century, the term 'picturesque' was applied to a landscape that looked as if it had come straight out of a painting, but now the word has changed to mean that a scene is charming and quaint and would make a good picture. In the 18th century, the Picturesque, particularly in reference to landscape gardening, was a type of beauty characterised by an irregular and rough naturalism, most famously exemplified in the work of the English landscape gardener Capability Brown. As an aesthetic concept applied to painting, it looks back to the 'classical picturesque' style seen in the works of Claude and Poussin, and the Romantic picturesque derived from Elsheimer and Salvator Rosa.
 
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