Barbizon School of Painting (part 5)
The views of the Barbizonians are many contradictory. Striving for a truthful depiction of nature, they, paradoxically, were negative towards realism, considering it too prosaic, aimed at creating “copies”, and not genuine art. G. Courbet was neglected, believing that his paintings “place in the kitchen.” The Barbizonians did not like the social orientation, which was strong with the master from Ornan. It came from their ideas about life, art. Fearing modern civilization, artists were extremely conservative politically. Understanding that revolutions move society forward, they were afraid of the development of modern civilization, they cherished the patriarchal world, which they idealized.
The contradictory ideological attitudes of the masters from Barbizon led to the fact that critics differently evaluated this art. Many loved them for the freshness of their feelings, their detachment from the cares of today. However, democratic criticism – T. Tore, F. Byurtie, A. Sylvester – otherwise revealed the content of landscapes, finding them a wide range of aesthetic problems. It is characteristic that the critics were friends with the artists, corresponded with them, introducing their thoughts and comments into the reviews of the exhibitions.
T. Russo dreamed of developing such a language of painting that would be close to nature itself, he wanted the forest to “speak” in his paintings. Indeed, working by nature and finishing compositions in the studio, the artists strove to not lose the sense of authenticity that they had when contemplating nature. That is why they are not alien to romantic emotion.
It is especially noticeable in the work of N. Diaz de la Peña, whose paintings are like “a dream in an enchanted country.” The critic A. Sylvester describes one of his stories in this way: “Decrepit, crumpled trees tattered by the wind, with branches torn by a whirlwind, a heap of cliffs, where several pale birches appear as trembling feathers, wild heather thickets …” The artist liked to depict forest thickets penetrated by the rays of the setting sun, the beginning of a thunderstorm. The colors of his palette are thick, viscous, iridescent.
Rousseau and Dupre conveyed generalized observations on a specific motive; their art is characterized by an epic note. Brush strokes, masterfully laid one on top of the other, create a dense texture fabric, designed to emphasize moist, dense air over meadows and pastures. Unfortunately, their painting has darkened with time and the sparkling scattering of golden, green and ocher tones has now faded somewhat. For all the conventions of the word “school” in relation to the various masters who worked in Barbizon, there was something that united them. They are the creators of the national realistic landscape.