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Jean-Michel Cels: 'Tree study'

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This oil sketch of a mass of trees in a deep ravine continues the tradition of painting directly from nature which had reached a height of popularity in Italy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Cels has used two approaches to painting the trees here. Those deep in the gully have been highlighted with lighter shades of green to bring them into relief against the dark mass of foliage, others such as the tree silhouetted against the sky are painted in one shade only and the swift brushstrokes define the shapes of the leaves.

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