Topographical tradition

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The topographical tradition describes a long-established tradition of painting largely or entirely concerned with specific places on the earth and their "topography".

In his article "The Topographical Tradition", Bruce McElvoy states that the topographical tradition is rooted in 18th-century British watercolour painting intended to serve practical as well as aesthetic purposes: "At the beginning of the 18th century, the topographical watercolor was primarily used as an objective record of an actual place in an era before photography."[1]


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