Barbizon School of Painting (part 1)
Far from the noise of the capital, French painters of the last century took a fancy to the area around the royal residence of Fontainebleau, which, since the time of Francis I, has attracted the lands of noble hunters. As early as the 18th century, J.-B. Audrey wrote pompous royal hunting scenes. After the turbulent events of the Great French Revolution and the fall of Napoleon I, when the time of festivities was a thing of the past, landscape painters frequented here. They especially liked the village of Barbizon. Here, among the dense forests, peasants lived, hunting for charcoal. Peace and silence reigned in Barbizon; it seemed to be an ideal place for those who are attracted by nature, which has preserved its pristine charm. In the houses, barely visible behind the hedges of shrubs, artists began to stop.
They began to settle in this area in the 1830s, and soon a colony of landscape painters formed in Barbizon, numbering up to twenty people. Fame, recognition came to many of them in the middle of the century, when the concept of “Barbizon school” came to be — that is, craftsmen who preferred to work in this area, conveying the uncomplicated motifs of forest edges, swamps and grazing herds. Bar bisoners gradually attracted the sympathy of the public and critics, became a prominent phenomenon in the art of the XIX century. It is worth recalling that the landscape in the last century was often perceived as the leading genre of painting – in contrast to the previous time, when it was considered secondary. Lively, sincere feelings were visible in him. The discovery of light, air, which gave such a peculiarity of painting of those years, was made by landscape painters. Their love of simple, uncomplicated motives – the approach of a thunderstorm, a lonely traveler among the fields, sunset time – is especially appreciated today, when more and more new problems make us anxiously think about the future of the natural environment.
The forests of Fontainebleau inspired more than one galaxy of French artists. All the major landscape painters of the XIX century in one way or another came into contact with this area in their work. At the beginning of the last century, J. Michel, the founder of a new landscape art in France, came here with his friends fifty leagues from Paris. Inspired by the example of the old Dutch masters, he began to depict desert landscapes, where a ray of sunlight, breaking through the clouds, glides along the ground. This soon forgotten master was nicknamed Reisdal Montmartre, which hinted at his addiction to Dutch art. It was rediscovered in the mid-19th century and valued as the forerunner of the new school. The writer E. de Senancourt, the author of the novel “Oberman”, glorified at the beginning of the century, enthusiastically wrote about the environs of Fontainebleau Castle, perceiving them with romantic elation. Landscape painters Aligny and Ledieux in 1824, visiting the director of the local manufactory, were delighted with the beauty of the surroundings. Finally, even before his trip to Italy, K. Koro also looked in. Romantic P. Yue, a friend of Delacroix, who, according to his contemporary, opened the “window of painting”, did not pass these edges. All of them paved the way for those who later glorified this area in painting.