19th-Century Landscape Painting in Europe
In 1816 the French government instituted a Prix de Rome for historical landscape. Prize-winners travelled to Rome, where they could develop their skills as landscape painters. Many other Northern European painters, including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, also journeyed to Italy, attracted by the dramatic landscapes and strong light of Southern Europe.
By the 1830s painters were exploiting the possibilities offered by the scenery of their own countries. The tradition of sketching in the open air had developed into naturalistic landscape painting, executed both out of doors and in the studio. Depictions of mountains, valleys, and forests were sometimes imbued with religious or spiritual significance, but they were also considered legitimate subjects for paintings in their own right.