Ancient Egypt: Paintings showcasing Egypt’s Extraordinary Landscape

Egypt’s landscape is a natural wonder. In this article we will take a look at a collection of beautiful images of Egyptian landscape painting produced over the decades. 


The Suez Canal by Albert Rieger, 1864, oil on canvas, Museo Civico Rivoltella, Trieste, Italy 

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt connecting the Mediterranean sea to the Red Sea. This painting shows a long bright blue lake amongst a green valley. The sky is warm with an orange, pale purple horizon!

 Image of The Suez Canal, 1864 (oil on canvas), Rieger, Albert (1834-1905) / Austrian, Museo Civico Rivoltello, Trieste, Italy © Bridgeman Images


A Temple on the Nile by Frederic Leighton, 1868, oil on canvas, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales 

This painting reminds one of Egypt's humid atmosphere. Pinks and oranges can be seen on a large central temple across a river. The color scheme consists of mainly pale purples and pinks with contrasts to beige sands and glimpses of greenery and palm trees. 

Image of A Temple on the Nile, 1868 (oil on canvas), Leighton, Frederic (1830-96) / English, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales, 15.5x25.5 cms © Bridgeman Images


The Pyramids at Dusk by Augustus Osborne (1877 - 1930), watercolor on paper, Christopher Wood Gallery, London 

Augustus Osborne was an English Orientalist painter and illustrator, known for his unique scenes of North Africa. The river in the image glistens with purples, pinks and yellow/cream reflections from the pyramids above. Osborne has cleverly introduced intricate details of people along the river banks, suggestions of windows on buildings and small orange palm trees. 

Image of , The Pyramids at dusk (w/c on paper), Lamplough, Augustus Osborne (1877-1930) / English, 50.6x73.6 cms, © Christopher Wood Gallery, London, UK / Bridgeman Images 


Landscape with the Flight into Egypt by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563, oil on Panel, Courtauld Gallery 

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one of the most significant artists of the Flemish and Dutch Renaissance. Bruegel was a pioneer for making landscapes the focal subject in his large paintings. This image of a flight into Egypt appears to be fantastical! A large light blue lake winds into the background suggesting that the exotic scene extends! 

Image of a Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, 1563 (oil on panel), Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69) / Flemish, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust), 37.1x55.6 cms, © Courtauld Gallery / Bridgeman Images


View on the Nile by Thomas Seddon, 1855, oil on canvas, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK

This image is powerful in reinforcing the heat of the Sun in Egypt. Bright orange/yellow extending from the left side of the painting, beams down on to the calm rippling waters below. This extraordinary painting with excellent color was produced by English painter Thomas Seddon. Seddon was known for his highly detailed, colorful scenes of Egypt, Jerusalem and Brittany. 

Image of a View on the Nile, 1855 (oil on canvas), Seddon, Thomas (1821-56) / English, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, UK, © Ashmolean Museum / Bridgeman Images


Flight into Egypt by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1921, oil on panel, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA 

Henry Ossawa Tanner was the first African American artist to gain global recognition. Tanner’s painting below beholds many shades of blues and greens. The texture is thick and evident due to loose brush strokes. The image is extremely atmospheric and depicts a scene based on The Flight into Egypt. The Flight into Egypt is a story recounted in the Gospel of Matthew and tells the tale of an angel telling Joseph to flee Egypt with Mary and Baby Jesus as King Herold had plans to seek baby Jesus and kill him. 

Image of a Flight into Egypt, 1921 (oil on panel), Tanner, Henry Ossawa (1859-1937) / American, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 50.8x61 cms, © Museum of Fine Arts, Houston / Gift of Mrs. Evan W. Burris / Bridgeman Images


Pylons at Karnak, The Theban Mountains in the Distance by Edward William Cooke (1811 - 80), oil on paper on board, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, USA  

English landscape painter Edward William Cooke painted this naturalistic landscape of the Pylons at Karnak, with the Theban Mountains situated in the distance, to the right of the image. The sky trails across a peaceful landscape. The river appears green in the foreground, whether this is discoloration over time or Cooke's intention, the green creates a murky warm feel to the river. 

Image of Pylons at Karnak, the Theban Mountains in the Distance (oil on paper on board), Cooke, Edward William (1811-80) / English, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, USA, 14.4x36 cms, © Bridgeman Images


Asyut on the Nile by John Rogers Herbert, 1873, oil on canvas, Hamburger, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany 

This painting is perhaps one of the brightest we have seen so far! Bright, lime green grass and a cream path give the appearance of bright light shining down. Villagers walk on the path, one placed on a thin camel. The scene is serene and exotic as we see palm trees and numerous rocky hills. John Rogers Herbert was an English painter, he painted the scene in a realistic manner. 

Image of Asyut on the Nile, 1873 (oil on canvas), Herbert, John Rogers (1810-90) / English, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany, 56x107 cms, © Bridgeman Images


Leaving the Oasis by Jean Leon Gerome, 1880s, Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA 

This painting evokes energy and movement, a dog jumps in front of a group of men sitting on walking camels. Jean Leon Gerome was a French painter and is widely known for his academically refined paintings. Shadows of palm trees are depicted against the warm brown stone/sand. 

Image of Leaving the Oasis, 1880s (oil on wood panel), Gerome, Jean Leon (1824-1904) / French, Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA, 67.31x98.43 (framed) 50x81.2 (unframed) cms, © Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin / Bridgeman Images


Garf Hoseyn, 2:30pm, 15th February 1867 by Edward Lear, 1867, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA 

This ink and watercolor image is loosely constructed but still includes important details. The Bricks and outlines of the figures are produced finely. Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator who produced colorful drawings during his journeys.

Image of Garf Hoseyn, 2.30pm, 15th February 1867 (ink and w/c on paper), Lear, Edward (1812-88) / English, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA, 24.1x34.9 cms, © Gift of Donald Gallup / Bridgeman Images


The Tombs of the Sultans near Cairo by Elijah Walton, 1865, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK 

Elijah Walton was a British landscapist, this bright image below is almost photo realistic! Bright yellows and oranges highlight the entire midsection of the scene. Barren Land contrasts with the highly colorful blue, orange and yellow sky above. Hills are characterized by shining purples. A faint shadow of a camel can be seen in the center of the image. 

Image of The Tombs of the Sultans near Cairo, at Sunset, 1865 (oil on canvas), Walton, Elijah (1833-80) / English, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK, 137.2x183.2 cms, © Fitzwilliam Museum / Bridgeman Images


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