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Barbizon School


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An informal group of French landscape painters, active from the 1830s to about 1870, who took their name from a small village on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau, where they worked and where some of them eventually settled. The central figure of the group was Théodore Rousseau; the other members included Charles-François Daubigny, Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, Jules Dupré (1811–89), and Constant Troyon. They were united in their opposition to the conventions of the classical tradition stemming from Claude and Poussin and by their interest in landscape painting for its own sake, a fairly new development in French art. Their inspiration came partly from England, particularly Constable, and partly from the 17th-century Dutch painters whom Constable so admired. They advocated painting direct from nature, but unlike the Impressionists, they usually painted only studies in the open air; their finished pictures were almost always done in the studio. Corot, who was one of the first artists to work in the forest, is often associated with the group, but his work has a poetic and literary quality that sets him somewhat apart. Millet is also often linked with the School, as he settled in Barbizon in 1849 and during his last period painted pure landscapes. Most of the Barbizon painters initially struggled for recognition, but they generally achieved success during the 1850s. The peak of their popularity came (posthumously for most of them) in the 1880s and 1890s.

Subjects: Art.


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