法蘭西皇家繪畫暨雕刻學院沙龍展在十八世紀中葉的蓬勃發展，不僅可從展出畫作的數量大幅增多得以驗證，從展出的畫類日趨多元也可窺之一二。這樣的發展趨勢，不僅說明了自該世紀初以來，北方畫家與其偏好描繪自然景緻的創作觀，啟發了法國藝術家重視風景的表現，同時也暗示著學院畫家在選擇參展沙龍的題材時，可以享有足夠的自主權。根據當時沙龍展的展出目錄（livret），參展的風景主題大致可區分為以下幾類：一、取法狩獵畫家德波特（Alexandre Francois Desportes, 1661-1773）與巫德利（Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1686-1755）的風景表現；二、以「寫生」與自然光效取勝的風景畫；三、取材於歷史與神話典故的風景；四、懷古風景；五、表現『超乎尋常、無可名狀之美』（sublime）的風景；六、宛同地方誌的風景畫──「景觀畫」（vue）。由於十八世紀後半沙龍展的風景表現，使風景寫生的觀念正式納入學院的藝術教育體系。而沙龍展對風景畫家的開放政策，也能夠讓享有盛名的風景畫家，獲得學院與藝評家的重視，起碼在維爾內（Clauede-Joseph Vernet, 1714-1789）之前，從來沒有一位風景畫家能像他一樣，獲致如此崇高的榮耀。更重要的是，經由沙龍展出以及藝評人士大力推薦的風景畫，不僅能藉展出之機會，推廣欣賞風景的品味，鼓勵私人收藏風景畫，並且讓原來只具有裝飾性功能的風景畫，成為與歷史畫一樣具有教化廣大觀賞者之功效的畫類。也因此，當十九世紀印象主義畫家推翻學院「歷史風景畫」的品味被視為是法國風景傳統之現代化的表徵時，不要忘了，印象主義畫家的發展基礎正是建立在十八世紀的藝術理論者、評論家、學院教育與沙龍展對風景表現的全力支持之上的。
The vigorous development of the French Salon as promoted by the Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture during the Eighteenth Century can not only be confirmed by an increase in the quantity of paintings displayed, but also by an increase of their variety. For example, with the Salon’s success, landscape painting──which was classified as a “secondary picture class” by the Academie royale──became more prosperous. During the Salon of the 1760’s, it was even possible for landscape painters to be respected more than historical painters. This phenomenon can be proven by the fact that Denis Diderot (1713-1784) lavishly praised the famous French landscape painter Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) in his extensive Salon commentaries.
The variety of landscape paintings displayed in the Eighteenth Century Salon shows most vividly the freedom French Academic painters had in choosing subjects for their publicly displayed works. According to the livret of the Salon, themes for these paintings can be divided into the following categories: (1) Pastoral landscapes, taking Alexandre Francois Desportes (1661-1773) and Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) as examples; (2) Landscapes as realistic sketches of Nature; (3) Heroic landscapes; (4) Architectural or ruinous landscapes; (5) Landscapes as representing sublime beauty; (6) Topographical scenes based on Nature──“vue topographique.” The Eighteenth-Century Salon’s promotion of landscape painting exercised a decisive and profound influence upon the formation and accepted value of this “secondary class” of picture. This result was especially noticeable in academic circles and in art education, where the skills and theory of sketching nature became increasingly important. So, when we lionize the 19th century Impressionists because they “overthrew the conventional Academic tradition and modernized French landscape painting”, we should not forget that their achievements were, in fact, based on the very foundations established by the theorists, critics, academics, art educators and, of course, Salon painters of the 18th century.