Nature-Inspired Art

A collection of great works through the ages, inspired by nature.

At the Lascaux caves in France, paintings more than 17,000 years old depict horses, deer, bulls and other animals that once roamed the land.

Two paintings from the Ming Dynasty show the important role nature has played in Chinese art. Mountains in particular were revered as the manifestation of “qi”—nature’s power.

Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful in 1893 after seeing the view from the 14,000-foot Pike’s Peak, CO. “All the wonder of America seemed displayed there,” she later recalled.

French post-impressionist painter Henri Rousseau, known for his exotic landscapes, once said: “Nothing makes me so happy as to observe nature and to paint what I see.”

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River is the ultimate symbol of freedom as Huck and Jim raft down its mighty waters.

Often described as the “Father of Modern Art,” Paul Cezanne was moved to paint the image of Mont Sainte-Victoire in southern France more than 60 times.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” in Pennsylvania exemplifies the influence nature played in the architect’s designs. “I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work,” Wright said.

Claude Monet’s famous “water lilies” series was based on his garden at his home in Giverny, France.

Ansel Adams looked to nature as his muse. This photo of Grand Teton National Park, WY, is from a series of photos commissioned in 1941 by the Interior Department.

Want to be inspired by nature? Visit a Conservancy preserve, such as the Broken Kettle Grasslands in Iowa. Check out our preserve map for more art-worthy locations around the world.


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