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Artist: Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse-Virgile 1 of 1

The Approaching Storm, 1870

Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la

French, 1807-1876
Oil on canvas
33-1/4 x 41-5/8 in. (84.4 x 105.6 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

A founding member of the so-called Barbizon school, Diaz helped upend French landscape tradition in the 1830s and 1840s. Alongside Théodore Rousseau and others of their generation, Diaz abandoned Paris and its academic strictures for the village of Barbizon and the forest of Fontainebleau, drawing inspiration directly from nature. This late, storm-lit landscape demonstrates Diaz’s talent for spectacular luminous effects: the sun breaks through a troubled sky, revealing a rocky landscape, a blasted tree, and a lone human figure, picking her way through the middle distance. Richly varied brushwork—much of it wet-in-wet—gives the picture its rugged texture and heightens the drama without recourse to a story.

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Artist: Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse-Virgile 1 of 1