The Barbizon school of painters were part of an art movement towards Realism in art, which arose in the context of the dominant Romantic Movement of the time. The Barbizon school was active roughly from 1830 through 1870. It takes its name from the village of Barbizon, France, on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, where many of the artists gathered. Most of their works were landscape painting, but several of them also painted landscapes with farmworkers, and genre scenes of village life. Some of the most prominent features of this school are its tonal qualities, color, loose brushwork, and softness of form.
The leaders of the Barbizon school were: Théodore Rousseau, Charles-François Daubigny, Jules Dupré, Constant Troyon, Charles Jacque, and Narcisse Virgilio Díaz. Jean-François Millet lived in Barbizon from 1849, but his interest in figures with a landscape backdrop sets him rather apart from the others. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was the earliest on the scene, first painting in the forest in 1829, but "his work has a poetic and literary quality which sets him somewhat apart".Other artists associated with the school, often pupils of the main group, include: Henri Harpignies, Albert Charpin, François-Louis Français, and Émile van Marcke.
Many of the artists were also printmakers, mostly in etching but the group also provided the bulk of the artists using the semiphotographic cliché verre technique. The French etching revival began with the school, in the 1850s.
In 1824 the Salon de Paris exhibited works of John Constable, an English painter. His rural scenes influenced some of the younger artists of the time, moving them to abandon formalism and to draw inspiration directly from nature. Natural scenes became the subjects of their paintings rather than mere backdrops to dramatic events. During the Revolutions of 1848 artists gathered at Barbizon to follow Constable's ideas, making nature the subject of their paintings. The French landscape became a major theme of the Barbizon painters.
Millet extended the idea from landscape to figures — peasant figures, scenes of peasant life, and work in the fields. In The Gleaners (1857), for example, Millet portrays three peasant women working at the harvest. Gleaners are poor people who are permitted to gather the remains after the owners of the field complete the main harvest. The owners (portrayed as wealthy) and their laborers are seen in the back of the painting. Millet shifted the focus and the subject matter from the rich and prominent to those at the bottom of the social ladders. To emphasize their anonymity and marginalized position, he hid their faces. The women's bowed bodies represent their everyday hard work.
In the spring of 1829, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot came to Barbizon to paint in the Forest of Fontainebleau, he had first painted in the forest at Chailly in 1822. He returned to Barbizon in the autumn of 1830 and in the summer of 1831, where he made drawings and oil studies, from which he made a painting intended for the Salon of 1830; "View of the Forest of Fontainebleau'" (now in the National Gallery in Washington) and, for the salon of 1831, another "View of the Forest of Fontainebleau"'. While there he met the members of the Barbizon school: Théodore Rousseau, Paul Huet, Constant Troyon, Jean-François Millet, and the young Charles-François Daubigny.
During the late 1860s, the Barbizon painters attracted the attention of a younger generation of French artists studying in Paris. Several of those artists visited Fontainebleau Forest to paint the landscape, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille.In the 1870s those artists, among others, developed the art movement called Impressionism and practiced plein air painting. In contrast, the main members of the school made drawings and sketches on the spot, but painted back in their studios.
The Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh studied and copied several of the Barbizon painters as well, including 21 copies of paintings by Millet. He copied Millet more than any other artist. He also did three paintings in Daubigny's Garden.
Both Théodore Rousseau (1867) and Jean-François Millet (1875) died at Barbizon.
Painters in other countries were also influenced by this art. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, many artists came to Paris from Austria-Hungary to study the new movements. For instance, the Hungarian painter János Thorma studied in Paris as a young man. In 1896 he was one of the founders of the Nagybánya artists' colony in what is now Baia Mare, Romania, which brought impressionism to Hungary. In 2013 the Hungarian National Gallery opens a major retrospective of his work, entitled, ''János Thorma, the Painter of the Hungarian Barbizon, 8 February - 19 May 2013, Hungarian National Gallery
Karl Bodmer, originally Swiss, settled in Barbizon in 1849. László Paál, another Hungarian, lived in Barbizon in the 1870s.
The Barbizon painters also had a profound impact on landscape painting in the United States. This included the development of the American Barbizon school by William Morris Hunt. Several artists who were also in, or contemporary to, the Hudson River School studied Barbizon paintings for their loose brushwork and emotional impact. A notable example is George Inness, who sought to emulate the works of Rousseau.Paintings from the Barbizon school also influenced landscape painting in California. The artist Percy Gray carefully studied works by Rousseau and other painters which he saw in traveling exhibitions to inform his own paintings of California hills and coastline. The influence of the Barbizon painters may be seen in the extraordinary sporting dog paintings of Percival Rosseau (1859-1937), who grew up in Louisiana and studied at the Academie Julien.
Jean-François Millet was a French artist and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his paintings of peasant farmers and can be categorized as part of the Realism art movement. Toward the end of his career he became increasingly interested in painting pure landscapes. He is known best for his oil paintings but is also noted for his pastels, conte crayon drawings, and etchings.
Charles-François Daubigny was one of the painters of the Barbizon school, and is considered an important precursor of impressionism.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a French landscape and portrait painter as well as a printmaker in etching. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism.
Narcisse Virgilio Díaz de la Peña was a French painter of the Barbizon school.
Étienne Pierre Théodore Rousseau was a French painter of the Barbizon school.
François-Louis Français (1814–1897), also known as Louis Français, was a French painter, lithographer and illustrator who became one of the most commercially successful landscape painters of the 19th century. A former pupil of Gigoux, he began his career by studying lithography and wood engraving, becoming a prolific illustrator and print-maker. His work as an illustrator is to be found in around forty books and numerous magazines from the late 1830s to the 1860s. Français also produced a large number of pen and ink drawings, enhanced by sepia, notable for their attention to detail and for their technical adroitness and conciseness.
Homer Ransford Watson was a Canadian landscape painter. He has been characterized as the painter who first painted Canada as Canada, rather than as a pastiche of European painting. He was a member and president (1918–1922) of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, as well as a founding member and first president (1907–1911) of the Canadian Art Club. Although Watson had almost no formal training, by his mid-1920s he was well known and admired by Canadian collectors and critics, his rural landscape paintings making him one of the central figures in Canadian art from the 1880s until the First World War.
The Hague School is a group of artists who lived and worked in The Hague between 1860 and 1890. Their work was heavily influenced by the realist painters of the French Barbizon school. The painters of the Hague school generally made use of relatively somber colors, which is why the Hague School is sometimes called the Gray School.
Barbizon is a commune (town) in the Seine-et-Marne department in north-central France. It is located near the Fontainebleau Forest.
The Mesdag Collection is an art museum in The Hague, Netherlands.
Paul Durand-Ruel was a French art dealer associated with the Impressionists and the Barbizon School. Being the first to support artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre August Renoir, he is best known for his innovations in modernizing art markets, and is generally considered to be the most important art dealer of the 19th century. An ambitious entrepreneur, Durand-Ruel cultivated international interest in French artists by establishing art galleries and exhibitions in London, New York, Berlin, Brussels, among other places. Additionally, he played a role in the decentralization of art markets in France, which prior to the mid-19th century was monopolized by the Salon system.
Hippolyte Camille Delpy was a French painter.
Cliché verre, also known as the glass print technique, is a type of "semiphotographic" printmaking. An image is created by various means on a transparent surface, such as glass, thin paper or film, and then placed on light sensitive paper in a photographic darkroom, before exposing it to light. This acts as a photographic negative, with the parts of the image allowing light through printing on the paper. Any number of copies of the image can be made, and the technique has the unique advantage in printmaking that the design can be reversed just by turning the plate over. However, the image loses some sharpness when it is printed with the plain side of the glass next to the paper.
János Thorma was a Hungarian painter. A representative figure of the Nagybánya artists' colony, which started in 1896, in Nagybánya, Austria-Hungary, He moved through different styles, shifted from the naturalism that was the aesthetic of the colony, to historical subjects, to romantic realism and to a Post-Impressionism style. His work is held by the Hungarian National Gallery, the Thorma János Múzeum, regional museums and private collectors.
Jean Alexis Achard (1807–1884) was a French painter.
Albert Heinrich Brendel, who was born in Berlin in 1827, studied in the Prussian Academy of Arts under Wilhelm Krause. In 1851 he went to Paris, and studied under Couture and Palizzi; thence to Italy, and home to Berlin in 1853, completing his studies under Carl Steffeck. For the next ten years he lived mainly in Paris, and worked in the summer months at Barbizon school, in the forest of Fontainebleau, which was also the scene of the labours of Jean-François Millet, Théodore Rousseau, Narcisse Virgilio Díaz, Constant Troyon, and other artists; and he continued, till 1869, to visit Barbison in the summer, after he moved in 1865 to Berlin for the winter. In 1868 he was made a member of the Berlin Academy, and in 1875 became Professor at the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School. His first works were sea-pieces, but afterwards he devoted himself to animal painting, in which he was very successful. He received medals at various exhibitions at Paris, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, and Nantes. He died in 1895.
Adolphe Appian was a French landscape painter and etcher.
Marie a'Becket was an American painter of the Hudson River School.
Starry Night is an oil painting by Jean-François Millet completed in 1850 and retouched in 1865. It is one of Millet's few painting that is exclusively a landscape and is currently on view at the Yale University Art Gallery.
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