Sky Study with Birds

Artists had made 'plein-air' or open-air studies of the sky since the 17th century. It was recommended practice that artists should sketch the changing patterns in the sky at several times of day and in various weather conditions, in order to capture it in all its moods. Here Cels has painted billowing clouds against a blue sky, with two birds wheeling in the breeze.

The inscription on the reverse indicates that the pigment was thinned with a kind of turpentine.

Key facts

Artist dates
1819 - 1894
Full title
Sky Study with Birds
Date made
Medium and support
Oil and chalk on paper laid on canvas
26.6 × 37.3 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
The Gere Collection, on long-term loan to the National Gallery
Inventory number
Location in Gallery