In the West, the concept of landscape grew very slowly. Nature was traditionally viewed as consisting of isolated objects long before it was appreciated as scene or environment. As a result landscape painting as an independent art was a late development in the West. Many scenes, from the Hellenistic pastoral paintings of antiquity to the religious works of the 16th cent. A.D., contained expansive landscape backgrounds, but they were usually subordinated within a narrative context.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.