Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes


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(b Toulouse, 6 Dec. 1750; d Paris, 16 Feb. 1819).

French landscape painter. Between 1769 and 1785 he spent several years in Italy, mainly Rome. Influenced particularly by Nicolas Poussin, he became a leading upholder of the classical tradition in landscape painting and argued that it should be considered equal in status to history painting. However, although his finished pictures were in a grand, highly composed style, he was also a leading exponent of the oil sketch: he thought that direct study from nature was a prerequisite for his formal works. His ideas were promoted not only through his paintings, but also through his book Élémens de perspective pratique (1800) and through his teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he became a professor in 1812.

Subjects: Art.

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