The landscape genre came relatively late, in the mid 17th century Holland. Not surprising, these paintings show environment which is predominantly flat.
However, one hundred years earlier the great Peter Bruegel traveled to Alps and introduced mountains into his paintings. We have to wait another 250 years to see something similar!
Peter Bruegel, November, (detail) 1565
The perception of the Alps changed in the end of eighteenth century from that of a "gloomy, frowning, oppressive, and a disfigurement of the landscape" to one more attune to the wonder and beauty of nature. Its remoteness and awe-inspiring grandeur with constant change of weather and light added to attraction.
Mont Blanc, end of 18th century
Meticulous drawings of the Alps in period when they became a subject of scientific interest.
They have both geological and historical significance.
Hans Conrad Escher, Matterhorn, 1806
Gustav Radde, Layla from Pari, 1866
For Victorian painters mountains were manifestation of sublime natural architecture with it's spires and towers bathed in transitional light. Watercolor on paper was most suitable for this task.
John Ruskin, Aiguille Verte , 1850
It was popular in North America and the Continent. Very close to life these paintings (oil on canvas) are views of snow peaks in stark contrast with lush valleys. It's style traces back to Poussin.
Alexey Savrasov, Jungfrau, 1875
Just as Romantics these artists payed much attention to light. But their palette was more intense and forms more defined.
Ferdinand Hodler, Jungfrau, 1914
Nikolay Roerich, Elbrus, 1933
Free use of color and dynamic compositions.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Davos, 1925
This painting with strong contrasts of light and shade has limited palette and gives an excellent idea of how mountains are built.
Howard Somerwell, Marmolada, 1936
These two examples show different approach to on-site painting. One has almost photographic quality while another is free in handling and color.
Franz Roubaud, Kazbek, 1882
Henri Matisse, Savoy Alps, 1901