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Barbizon School
By Neal McLaughlin

Time will never stand still. Neither man nor beast can stop the passing of time. As the seconds quickly click from the vintage alarm clock bring forth-new perspectives, ideas and goals, man's nature is to race and to keep up with the continuously changing times.

The world of art is no different. As the human race has struggled to keep up with the ever-changing world, the art of the time has reflected this change. Whether the artists considered the change bad or good it was reflected in their movements.

In the mid 1830's, as the French cities began to fall to pollution and the forest and rivers began to disappear into the roadways of today, several artists left their Paris Salons and headed southeast for the outdoors of a small village on the outskirts of the Forest of Fontainebleau.

Upon arriving in Barbizon, founders of the movement, Theodore Rousseau (1812-1867), Georges Michel (1763-1843) and Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875) abandoned the precedent of the Academic tradition, opting instead to portray a more natural, truer representation of the French countryside.

Abandoning their studios, the landscape painters of the Barbizon School elected to paint directly out of doors, where it was possible to closely study nature. Their subject matter did not portray the rich and noted people of France, but instead concentrated on the working class scattered throughout their new homeland.

Influenced by the elements of the seventeenth-century Dutch landscapes and the English traditional landscape paintings, the "plein-air" painters chose subject matters such as grave-diggers, farmers and poachers in addition to their natural landscape renderings.

While artists like Rousseau, Michel, Jean-Baptist Corot (1796-1875) and Constant Troyon (1810-1865) were rebelling against the social changes in France, Millet, was dedicated to depicting the land in which he once worked so that others would deeply ponder the lives of those who lived and worked the countryside.

Although called a "school", the Barbizon group was actually working on developing the style and cultural elements of the traditional seventeenth-century Dutch and English landscape painting with emphasis on human solitude in nature.

The painters of the Barbizon group, inspired by English artist John Constable's landscape paintings and renderings of nature, succeeded in establishing country themes and landscape paintings as vital subject matters for the French artists. By fostering an interest in visible reality, the Barbizon School can be accredited with successfully paving the way for the Realists and the Impressionists who took a similar philosophical approach to their art.

Art is an ever changing field of endeavor. Some movements or styles withstand the rigors of time while others fall quickly to the wayside. However, what is important in the movements of art is that usually a preceding movement or style is the foundation upon which the next movement is built.

It is very interesting to explore the growth of the various art movements; but even more interesting to contemplate what may have happened in the world of art if even the shortest of movements had never occurred at all.


Research Links


The Barbizon School: Artists and their Works

Artcyclopedia Artists by Movement: The Barbizon School. ... Chronological Listing of Barbizon School Members Use ctrl-F (PC) or command-F (Mac) to search for a name.

ArtLex on Barbizon School

Barbizon school art, painting, prints, defined with images of examples from art history, great quotations, and links to other resources. Click Here. ...

19th Century Art at Heart's Ease Gallery

19th Century Barbizon School. ... The Painters of the Barbizon School helped establish landscape and themes of country life as vital subjects for French artists. ...

Barbizon school - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Barbizon school. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Redirected from Barbizon School). The Barbizon school is named after the ...

Barbizon school. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001

... 2001. Barbizon school. ... Paintings of the Barbizon school were very popular with American collectors of the late 19th and early 20th cent. ...

Barbizon school

Barbizon school. The Barbizon school is named after the village of Barbizon near Fontainebleau Forest, France. The leaders of the ...

Barbizon School Art - Artists, Artworks and Biographies

Barbizon School: The Barbizon School of French landscape painting derived its named from Barbizon village in northern France, where most of the school’s ...


The leaders of the school of Barbizon were: Georges Michel, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet and Corot. ...

MSN Encarta - Barbizon School

... Barbizon School. Barbizon School, group of French painters, who from about 1830 to 1870 lived in or near the town of Barbizon, at the edge of the forest of...

Barbizon School

... Barbizon School. The Wood Sawyers is one of French painter Jean François Millet’s paintings ennobling the hard labour of rural life. ...

The Museum of Foreign Art :

Finnish National Gallery. Sinebrychoff: The Barbizon School. In the 1820s and '30s a group of French artists left Paris and took up ...

Barbizon school -- Encyclopædia Britannica

Barbizon school mid-19th-century French school of painting, part of a larger European movement toward naturalism in art, that made a significant contribution ...

Start your search on Barbizon School.

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