Forest of Fontainebleau
Narcisse–Virgile Diaz de la Peña ( French, 1807 - 1876 )
This painting is typical of the landscapes of the Barbizon school, a group of French painters during the mid-19th century who worked in and around the Forest of Fontainebleau, specifically the village of Barbizon, some thirty-five miles southeast of Paris. Their goals were to rediscover the magic of untouched nature remote from the urban center and to celebrate the natural world in all its commonplace, unembellished details. In this work, we see a grove of oaks, their gnarled trunks dramatically illuminated by a few shafts of light that penetrate the otherwise somber forest. Many of the naturalist qualities represented in this painting eventually influenced the development of impressionism.
Dorothy Kosinski, DMA label copy, 2003.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Read a biography of the artist from the NGA.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Check out another view of the forest of Fontainebleau by Diaz de la Peña.
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
Read this spotlight essay on Narcisse–Virgile Diaz de la Peña from the Kemper Art Museum.