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Barbizon School

Barbizon School Millet

Barbizon School


Barbizon School Painting

In the 1820s and '30s a group of French artists left Paris and took up residence at the edge of the forest of Fontainbleau, basing themselves in the village of Barbizon. Sharing the same artistic aspirations, they aimed to paint with spontaneity, capturing their immediate visual impressions on canvas.

Later dubbed the Barbizon school, this group of artists shared no particular thematic concerns other than wanting to abandon the stiff formalism of the classical landscape painting.

They did so by escaping the confines of the studio and working in the open air, with their subject in front of them.

Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867) and Camille Corot (1796-1875) were the leading exponents of plein-airism, although various other artists were also involved in the movement, including Charles-François Daubigny (1817-1878) and Narcisse Diaz de la Peña (1807-1876).

The Barbizon school drew inspiration from the realism of the 17th century Dutch masters and the English painter John Constable, whose work is stripped of vain academic pretensions.

The rapid brushwork and spontaneous technique of the plein-airists reduce the scene to its essentials more boldly than any predecessor had dared venture. Their chief concern was to capture the overall impression as the eye saw it.

Naturalism notwithstanding, the Barbizon artists interpreted landscapes as reflection of their state of mind, this being what guided their particular choice of subject matter.


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