Tall buildings, masses of people, and the general vibe of a busy life — cityscape paintings try to capture all that in a static image. They give us a chance to experience the city without going into it. Artists sometimes spend years creating a single cityscape painting. Some try to capture the beautiful part of a city, others — the more gritty. It is hard to look away from them and gasp at the beauty in city artworks.
Cities are the pinnacle of human civilization. Like paintings of cityscapes, they capture our attention and keep us away from nature. Unlike landscape paintings, which focus more on the wider view of nature, city paintings look at a single element of urban society. For example, The Fourth Of July by Childe Hassam looks at an American town filled with the starry flags of the US. Famous city paintings like these isolate one thing and put it in the center of attention for viewers to observe.
The good thing about paintings is that you can enjoy them while sitting in the comfort of your home. We have prepared some of the most famous paintings of cities in the list below. If you found the subject matter compelling and beautifully displayed, be sure to upvote it. On the other hand, if you have a story to share about the painting itself, share it with a comment below.
The Boulevard Montmartre At Night By Camille Pissarro
Artist: Camille Pissarro | Year (completed): 1897 | Movement: Impressionism
Boulevard Montmartre at Night depicts the crowded Parisian thoroughfare at night immediately following rain. The large group of moving people and the trees are portrayed as abstract vertical forms. The sky is gloomy and cloud-filled. The streetlamps are the only source of light for the people in the painting.
Boulevard Des Capucines By Claude Monet
Artist: Claude Monet | Year (completed): 1874 | Movement: Impressionism
A veteran of landscape paintings, Claude Monet was able to capture the city too. The critic Ernest Chesneau asserted that Monet caught the elusive aspect of movement with unparalleled precision in his painting Boulevard des Capucines, which offered a true sight of Parisian life on a winter’s day.
Late Afternoon, New York, Winter By Childe Hassam
Artist: Childe Hassam | Year (completed): 1900 | Movement: American Impressionism
Due to the falling snow effect in the painting, some enormous structures in the backdrop got reduced to darker paint portions without any significant detail. Some people are holding up umbrellas to combat the harsh winter weather. It is easy to guess that some residents decided to stay in the warmth of their homes.
Stadtansicht By August Von Siegen
Artist: August von Siegen | Year (completed): before 1910 | Period: Realism
Moving away from the busy life of Amsterdam, Stadtansicht is a “city view” of another western city. In this one, we see the town from the point of view of a city dweller — from the street. A canal separates two sides of the town. While boats clog the waterway, large numbers of people fill the streets.
View Of Florence By Thomas Cole
Artist: Thomas Cole | Year (completed): 1837 | Movement: Hudson River School
Thomas Cole, an American, captured a European city in the Hudson River school style. During his 1831 trip to Italy, Cole sketched this view of Florence in pencil just before dusk. In the painting, people are playing some songs, conversing in dialog, while behind them stands the grand city of Florence. Green leaves hang on the branches of the trees.
Paris Street, Rainy Day By Gustave Caillebotte
Artist: Gustave Caillebotte | Year (completed): 1877 | Movement: Realism
Parisian audiences used to the formal, academic style were thrilled by the painting’s finely detailed surface, exacting perspective, and expansive size. A more radical sensibility was sparked by its asymmetrical composition, irregularly cut shapes, rain-washed tone, and truly modern theme.
View Of Delft By Johannes Vermeer
Artist: Johannes Vermeer | Year (completed): 1661 | Period: Baroque
View Of Delft was painted from a high vantage point southeast of Delft. This picture is a true masterpiece because of the interaction of light and shade, the stunning foggy sky, and the delicate reflections in the water. The city has a calm atmosphere, and it seems like there is no wind — a place that can only exist in a good dream.
View Of Houses In Delft By Johannes Vermeer
Artist: Johannes Vermeer | Year (completed): 1658 | Period: Baroque
Another painting of Johannes Vermeer that involves Delft in one way or another. This picture is rare and noteworthy for its era as a portrayal of typical residences. The tone is both energetic and well-balanced. The antique walls with their bricks, whitewash, and fissures appear almost touchable.
Artist: Unknown | Year (Completed): 1800
While Antwerp is already a beautiful city to visit these days, Antwerpen reveals the city in its older days, and to be honest — it is more beautiful than ever. While the lower half of the painting focuses more on the houses, people, and the watery front, the upper half centers entirely on the Cathedral of Our Lady and the sky the towers seem to touch.
De Waag (Weighing House) And Crane On The Spaarne, Haarlem By Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde
Artist: Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde | Year (completed): before 1698 | Period: Dutch Golden Age
Cities are mainly the hub spots of industry, and Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde perfectly portrayed this aspect in De Waag (Weighing House) And Crane On The Spaarne, Haarlem. We can see several boats waiting to unload. On the shore, several people discuss something while their horses are eating grass and looking around.
The Siege And Destruction Of Jerusalem By The Romans Under The Command Of Titus By David Roberts
Artist: David Roberts | Year (completed): 1850 | Movement: Orientalism
It strongly recalls another of the Jerusalem lithographs he created during his visit to the city in 1839. According to Josephus’ staged account of the city’s invasion, the city’s north wall is already on fire in this photograph. A temple complex stands on the left, while the Antonia stronghold is perched in the upper left corner.
Area Of Venice By Frits Thaulow
Artist: Frits Thaulow | Year (completed): 1894 | Movement: Impressionism
Norwegian Frits Thaulow took his time when he decided to paint Area Of Venice. The work of art portrays what makes Venice so famous — its water-filled canals. We see a couple of boats on the water. One is resting near the walls, one is rowing to the left side of the painting, and one is under a bridge.
The Stonemason’s Yard By Canaletto
Artist: Canaletto | Year (completed): 1727 | Period: Baroque
The Stonemason’s Yard shows a casual scene in Venice. Household structures are in poor condition and have typical Venetian flaring chimney pots. Numerous balconies have potted plants, and many windows have laundry hung from them. The tower of the San Trovaso church towers over the houses.
Large Raid In Kronstadt By Ivan Ayvazovsky
Artist: Ivan Ayvazovsky | Year (completed): 1836 | Period: Late Romanticism
Ivan Ayvazovsky jumps to the outskirts of a city and portrays a raid on the Kronstadt port. Two ships lay on the water. While one of them, the further one, seems to be docked on the coast, the closer one is moving toward a shore with several men standing there. The dark sea sets up a hostile atmosphere.
Stadtansicht By Anton Burger
Artist: Anton Burger | Year (completed): Before 1905
Stadtansicht by Anton Burger proves that a town can also be calm and small. The painting places the viewer on the bank of a small river. On the other side of the body of water, a few houses stand. They seem to be on the verge of desolation. Their roofs are covered in red, probably clay, shingles. A tall structure, likely a church building, stands in the background.
Ansicht Von Brügge By August Fischer
Artist: August Fischer | Year (completed): 1905
Calm and peaceful — August Fischer captured this side of the town with Ansicht Von Brügge. Water flows through a canal on which a single boat, with a person in it, is seen. A stone bridge connects two different sides of the river. Buildings dot the coast, and it seems like a church stands in the far distance, in the interior of the town.
Blick Auf Amsterdam By August Von Siegen
Artist: August von Siegen | Year (completed): before 1910 | Period: Realism
August von Siegen was a painter of German origins who focused his attention on European and Eastern Mediterranean cities. This is most visible in Blick Auf Amsterdam, which captures the view of Amsterdam. People are in their boats, working, while medieval-like structures stand on the coast.
View Of Brussels From The North-East By Hercules Seghers
Artist: Hercules Seghers | Year (completed): 1625 | Period: Dutch Golden Age
A city is best seen from a high viewpoint, and View Of Brussels From The North-East proves this point. Hercules Seghers captured the town of Brussels in all its beauty. The city spans from the left side of the painting to the right. A tall structure, likely a church or a cathedral, rises above the houses and the city itself.
Blick Auf Eine Stadt Mit Abendhimmel By Carl Schuch
Artist: Carl Schuch | Year (completed): before 1903
A painter of still lifes and landscapes, Carl Schuch was not afraid to dabble and paint a few cityscapes of his own. Blick Auf Eine Stadt Mit Abendhimmel showcases his ability to capture a bleak-looking town. The majority of buildings we see are residential ones. Above them hangs a dark collection of clouds, hinting that it will rain.
Fischerhäuser Am Stadtkanal By Karl Schuster
Artist: Karl Schuster | Year (completed): 1896 | Period: Realism
One might think that Karl Schuster grabbed his canvas and captured the view in front of him (or in his mind). Fischerhäuser Am Stadtkanal shows how the life of a simple town was — people row in their boats, trees flourish near the waterfront, and people inside have windows wide open.
Urban Landscape By Charles Leickert
Artist: Charles Leickert | Year (completed): 1856
Urban Landscape automatically sets up a theme of the painting — the city and its view. Charles Leickert created a lively and breathing town. People gather around a street shopkeeper and unload something from their small, overfilled boats. Leickert lived in Amsterdam from 1849 to 1883, thus the presented view we see is a portrayal of this city.
De Verloren Stappen By Gustaaf Sorel
Artist: Gustaaf Sorel | Year (completed): before 1981 | Movement: Cubism
Another bleak view of a town from Gustaaf Sorel, only this one is filled to the brim with dark colors. Looking at it, you can see several buildings whose windows house strange sights. Strange faces and distorted bodies are visible in the windows and on the walls of the buildings. The artist is a master when it comes to creating mind-bending paintings.
The Avenue In The Rain By Childe Hassam
Artist: Childe Hassam | Year (completed): 1917 | Movement: American Impressionism
Nothing says the United States Of America like a massive collection of flags in one image. In the painting, the flags hang from poles that come from hidden structures and appear to float in midair. On the wet sidewalk and roadway, their reflections are visible. This painting currently hangs in the White House.
The Fourth Of July By Childe Hassam
Artist: Childe Hassam | Year (completed): 1916 | Movement: American Impressionist
Childe Hassam, an American Impressionist, painted this enormous canvas in 1916, showing Fifth Avenue draped in hundreds of American flags in honor of Independence Day. The Preparedness Movement, which pushed for a bolstered national defense after war broke out in Europe in July 1914, had the artist as a devoted supporter.
Artist: Unknown | Year (completed): Unknown
A beautiful work of art that doesn’t have a clear artist behind it. The lines and elements seem to fit Manuel Lahoz Valle. The painting shows the bridge of Ponte Vecchio, a medieval structure. Figures stand near the bridge, looking at it while holding onto something. We can also observe water flowing below the bridge.
A Federley Tornea By Alexander Thiodolf Federley
Artist: Alexander Thiodolf Federley | Year (Completed): 1908
Alexander Thiodolf Federley is known for his postcard artwork, where cities take the center of attention. One of the most famous artworks is A Federley Tornea. It depicts the rural church town of Torneå, Finland. Two people, likely a couple, walk on a dirt path. Colorful buildings stand near the road — the pointy end of a church rises in the distance.
Boats In A Gracht By Adolf Kaufmann
Artist: Adolf Kaufmann | Year (completed): 1916
Boats In A Gracht basically means boats in a canal. Adolf Kaufmann, an Austrian, captures the view of some boats in a water-filled waterway. Two boats are visible, both of which are docked opposite of each other. On the right side, houses are visible, with smoke rising from their chimneys.
“Frühling In Istrien” By Adolf Kaufmann
Artist: Adolf Kaufmann | Year (completed): 1916
A city in the Istrian peninsula, part of the Austrian-Hungary Empire at the time, seems like a place from a dream in this painting. The houses block the view of a distant body of water. The windows have wooden boards on them, and the trees seem to start to bloom. Smoke rises from the chimneys.
Saint-Malo By Arnold Lakhovsky
Artist: Arnold Lakhovsky | Year (completed): before 1937 | Movement: Fauvism
Arnold Lakhovsky was a Ukrainian artist who masterfully painted French urban life and then, in 1937, passed away in New York — inception. Saint-Malo takes a stab at portraying a French town in an array of colors. People live their lives, sell fruit and engage in casual conversation. Saint-Malo Cathedral stands tall in the distance.
Stadtansicht Hall In Tirol By Matthias Burklehner
Artist: Matthias Burgklehner | Year (completed): 1619
Simple yet elegant — Stadtansicht Hall In Tirol By Matthias Burgklechner captures a view of the city from its outskirts. The city has a church and well-maintained roofs of houses. Cultivated fields dominate the area outside the walls of the city. Raised bridges might hint that the city is near a body of water.
Der Burgplatz An Einem Regentag
Artist: Unknown | Year (completed): around 1900
When you live in a city, faces might get blurry as you focus more on the structures around you. Der Burgplatz An Einem Regentag tries to portray a busy city. Judging from the umbrellas, the long overcoats that the figures are wearing, and the blurry effect, created by the strokes of a brush — it is raining heavily.
Stadtplatz In Nordafrika By Carl Goebel
Artist: Carl Goebel | Year (completed): before 1899
Carl Goebel tried and succeeded in portraying the feeling of a North African town in the 19th century. The city stands in a sand-filled location. The buildings are white, maybe because of the sand. A person sits near some long building elements. A man, a donkey, and a dog are approaching the sitting person.
Evening, St Kilda Road By Clarice Beckett
Artist: Clarice Beckett | Year (completed): 1930 | Period: Modern
Beckett investigates the limitations of representation by fusing an urban electric glow with twilight’s ambient illumination and retrieving her composition from an abstract point of abstraction utilizing darkened box-shaped automobiles. Beckett creates a powerful atmospheric effect, engulfing the city in a cloak of rose tones that conjures the waning hours of dusk.
Queensboro Bridge By Andreas Orosz
Artist: Andreas Orosz | Year (completed): 2001 | Style: Realism
In 1999, Andreas Orosz took up the job and captured the beauty of New York City and its many structures. One of them was the Queensboro Bridge, the bridge that unites the regions of Queens and Manhattan together. In the painting, cars drive on the road, and a distant biker cycles toward the city.
Oxonium And Vindesorium By Joris Hoefnagel
Artist: Joris Hoefnagel | Year (supposed completion): 1575 | Period: Renaissance
These two paintings display two different cities from the point of view of a hill. Oxonium portrays two men looking over a red-bricked city. Vindesorium showcases a group of men talking, while behind them stands a medieval type of town. Both of the paintings put the cities at the center of attention.
Morning Mist By Mary Lee Tate
Artist: Mary Lee Tate | Year (completed): before 1967
A mountain city resting on a hill is always a welcomed view. It’s hard to get this view in paint, but Mary Lee Tate captured it perfectly. Presented in black and white, the city is simple yet majestic. A mist, barely visible, hangs in the air. On the lower part, the haze seems to obscure the hilly terrain.
Ansicht Von Antwerpen By “Van Deuren”
Artist: “Van Deuren” | Year (completed): 1877
Nothing showcases a western city like a canal going through it, boats floating on it, and houses dotting the sides. While there isn’t a person in “Van Deuren’s” painting, the city feels alive. Thanks to the static boats, the flags hanging on top of them, and the clouds moving above, we can guess that it is quite a busy town.
Das Wohnhaus Des Künstlers In Penzing By Anton Ebert
Artist: Anton Ebert | Year (completed): 1877
Anton Ebert moves us from the calm life of the rural world to the more urban and busy life in Das Wohnhaus Des Künstlers In Penzing. We can observe a mother and her two children, along with a dog, watching a carriage carrying someone of the upper class. The chimneys rising from the houses emit columns of smoke.
Stadt Im Abendlicht By Artur Nikodem
Artist: Artur Nikodem | Year (completed): 1925
Some of the greatest works of the Austrian painter Artur Nikodem survived even the ruthless purge of the nazi regime. A master of landscape painting, he took a stab at cityscape painting, and Stadt Im Abendlicht proves that he was able to master it too. The streets are blue, and the setting sun shines onto one of the buildings.
Jonas Und Der Wal
Artist: Unknown | Year (completed): 1552 | Period: Renaissance
Jonas Und Der Wal is a religious painting with realistic and fantasy-based elements. Starting from the left, we see a man sitting below a large pear (maybe this one won’t fall, thanks to gravity). In the sea, a ship gets attacked by a monster from the water. On the right side of the painting, a castle-style city stands. Dark clouds loom in the sky.
St. Mary’s With Houses And Chimney By August Macke
Artist: August Macke | Year (completed): 1911 | Movement: Expressionism
Augustus Macke, a German painter who lived a part of his life in France, painted several versions of the same view, with this one having colorful houses. A long structure, a chimney, most likely, rises from factory-like buildings and stands tall as the church towers in the background of the painting.
De Tweeling By Gustaaf Sorel
Artist: Gustaaf Sorel | Year (completed): 1960
Gustaaf Sorel, a painter known for the portrayal of people in darkness and depressing street scenes, shows us the bleaker side of a town. In the painting, two people look at the cubic buildings in front of them. The images in the windows are of blurry visions, of disfigured and inhuman creations.
City By The Sea By Ambrogio Lorenzetti
Artist: Ambrogio Lorenzetti | Year (completed): 1340 | Period: Gothic
City by the Sea by Ambrogio Lorenzetti is a masterpiece among Sienese paintings. Talamone, the closest port to Siena, has been recognized as the city in question. It is displayed as a perfect example of architecture. The structures above use an early perspective technique called oblique parallel projection.
Quai De Monte Bello
Artist: Unknown | Year (completed): Unknown
A surreal look at the Quai De Montebello. The depicted location can be found in Paris, France. In the painting, not a leaf hangs on the trees, which seem to be melting. The walls are filled with posters. Tall buildings stand in the background, behind the trees. Chimneys rise from the top of the buildings.
Blick Auf Einen Hinterhof By Alice Bailly
Artist: Alice Bailly | Year (completed): before 1938 | Movement: Fauvism
Alice Bailly, a swiss painter, seems to be a master of her craft and multiple styles. Blick Auf Einen Hinterhof is filled with colorful houses and monotonous streets. If you were to look, you would notice that there isn’t a single living person in the painting. The windows are present, but no one is looking out of them.
Blick Aus Dem Hause Bornheimer Straße By August Macke
Artist: August Macke | Year (completed): 1907 | Movement: Expressionism
Blick Aus Dem Hause Bornheimer Straße seems like a view from a dream of Augustus Macke. The town is blurry and unclear. The painted structures are large and seem to be of modern construction. Their windows are tall. The trees in the middle of the artwork are leafless, suggesting it is winter. There is not a person in sight.
Miasto By Barbara Houwalt
Artist: Barbara Houwalt | Year (completed): 1960
Miasto, meaning city, a large settlement, was painted by the Polish artist Barbara Houwalt. House-like structures dominate the painting’s view, whose red roofs perfectly suit the white walls of the buildings. An aqueduct or a bridge is visible on the lower part of the work, along with several trees with leaves.
Schwammerlturm In Leoben By Béla Konrád
Artist: Béla Konrád | Year (completed): before 1933
Béla Konrád’s painting Schwammerlturm In Leoben, as the name gives out, tries to portray a swimming tower in the Austrian city of Leoben. Brownish colors dominate the color array, except for the sky and a few windows. Judging from the perspective, the water tower in the name might be the tall structure behind the houses.
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