Today, depictions of the natural landscape are considered a classic favorite. Yet the genre has not always been so respected. In the Western tradition, landscapes were first seen as backdrops to other subject matter, such as historical or biblical scenes. It was not until the 17th century that landscapes began to emerge as a subject matter in their own right with any regularity. Landscapes remained a lesser genre, compared to portraits or paintings of historical events, until the 18th and 19th centuries, when artists began to equate the appreciation of beautiful scenery with spirituality and a growing respect for and understanding of the natural world. In the 19th century, landscapes were a dominant favorite, with artists producing many pastoral scenes and natural vistas that were lauded by critics and viewers alike. Pastoral Pleasures showcases landscapes from the Samek Art Museum’s permanent collection, from a Dutch harbor scene, to a painting by American Impressionist Maurice Prendergast, to Regionalist prints from the 1930s, showing the wide appeal and various interpretations of the landscape in art.