Study of Two Trees

about 1700, Possibly by François Desportes

The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery, © Private collection 2003. Used by permission

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The attribution of this study of two intertwining tree trunks has proved very difficult and the particular site has not been identified. The present attribution to Desportes is suggested because the artist and his studio particularly valued the skilful painting of such naturalistic subjects. Desportes was known for his hunting landscapes and portraits of royal hunting dogs, but an inventory of the contents of his studio made in 1784 mentions sketches of tree trunks and plants. These would have been incorporated into the backgrounds of his paintings.

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