Before the Romantic movement in the late eighteenth century, wild places represented unwelcome danger, in contrast to the managed productivity of the countryside. To Salvator Rosa, perhaps the first painter to explore the artistic appeal of wild landscapes, they were the home of bandits and smugglers.
During the eighteenth century, wild places that looked good in paintings began to be explored in reality, and emotions of awe and even fear were valued for their own sake. Art, poetry and philosophy together led to an appreciation of wildernesses. Later, as roads improved, railways were developed and guide-books became available, neglected parts of Europe and wider afield were explored with more confidence by European travellers and artists, and new subjects found.