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Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña: 'Common with Stormy Sunset'

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Artists of the Barbizon School often used small wood panels like this one when they wanted to work out of doors directly in front of their chosen motif. Easily portable and more sturdy than canvas or paper, the panels allowed the painter to move quickly from one study to another as he recorded changing atmospheric and light conditions.

This picture was known in the 19th century as 'The Sunset'. Often, such oil studies were completed back in the studio where, as here, the artist turned the sketch into a small-scale finished composition.

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