Skip to main content

French, The Sky at Sunrise

Key facts
Full title The Sky at Sunrise
Artist French
Date made 1821
Medium and support Oil on paper laid down on canvas
Dimensions 24 × 30 cm
Inscription summary Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by the Lishawa family, 2018
Inventory number NG6676
Location Room 42
Collection Main Collection
The Sky at Sunrise

The glowing sky is set between dark hills and threatening storm clouds, the strip of dense grey clouds at the top echoing the blue silhouette of land at the bottom. Distinctive jigsaw-shaped clouds are depicted in layers white hovering over grey, blue sky beyond fading to rose and peach at the horizon.

The inscription at the bottom edge gives an exact date and time of 4 May 1821 at half past five. It must be 5.30 in the morning, and the sketch was evidently executed rapidly. In his influential treatise of 1800, Elémens de perspective pratique, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes recommended that no longer than half an hour be spent when capturing such fluid light conditions. While this sketch has not yet been attributed to an individual artist, the inscription implies that the painter is French.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo