Although landscape painting dates to antiquity, the genre remained popular among early modern artists. Driven in part by their dissatisfaction with modern urban life, many artists sought out places resembling untouched earthly paradises where they could focus on their work and observe nature closely. They generated radical artistic experiments, which might seem more likely to have been sparked by the visual and cultural stimulation of the city. But surrounded by nature and in rural communities, they began breaking the traditions of landscape painting, using, for example, non-naturalistic colors or applying paint in ways that emphasized their brushwork.

Two innovations made it easier than ever for artists to paint outside, directly from nature. Improved transportation, both by railroad and automobile, allowed people to travel farther faster. And with the introduction of paint in tubes, which stayed wet and was easily transportable, artists were freed from having to mix and store their own paint and could work anywhere they wanted.


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