Guide – Cityscape Art

Cityscape is the painting of city scenes where this is basically the city version of landscapes. In this context, painting of landscapes are common among artists regardless of what medium they use whether they are acrylic, watercolour or oil. This means that there is a blur line between cityscapes and townscapes because of the fact that both the scenarios are somewhat similar. It can however be more distinguishable if the artist paints a city which the viewer knows like New York City or Tokyo.

A cityscape need not necessarily be a painting as it could also come in other media forms like photographs, drawing or even an installation depending largely on how the artist express himself.

Cityscapes in art is not a new art type where it has existed throughout many centuries

Basically, a cityscape is an interesting take of a certain scenario of the city by the artist. It could one from the ground level or a bird’s eye view from the top or even from within a building or a window.

Cityscape has existed from the first century when a bird’s eye view of an ancient city was depicted and they were also used around the 16th to the 18th century when cities were etched and printed using bird’s eye view montages. Jan Vermeer had painted the city Delft in his very popular painting ‘View of Delft’ during the 17th century and like him, many paintings of cities around the Netherlands began to surface around the same time. From the Dutch’s popularity, cityscape paintings would continue to grow to other countries around Europe that covered the likes of Germany, England and France.

The popularity of cityscape art is largely due to the fact that one can have a totally different expression of the different angles that exist within a city

In Malaysia, cityscape artists are commonly popular especially among the watercolour medium. This is because watercolour paintings is one of the most popular medium used by the earlier generation of artists to paint still life and the retro style and shots of the city scenario are common subject matters used.

One of the most popular cityscape artist is American artist Edward Hopper. His paintings usually depict a moment in a city where despite his strong advocacy of figurative painting, he has often painted very interesting scenarios of American towns. Other painters who are still around today include the likes of Antonio Lopez Garcia, Richard Estes as well as Yvonne Jacquette who has been able to create a niche for painting aerial cityscape paintings. One very interesting element about cityscape paintings is how the artist plays around with the lightings that they see because unlike landscapes or still life, the city is often filled with bright and colourful lights. Other common cityscape paintings include panoramic views which are one of the specialty of London artist Stephen Wiltshire who was born with autism who is known for his paintings which are produced based on his memory as well as Brian Whelan, who is also from London.


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