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Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña, Common with Stormy Sunset

Key facts
Full title Common with Stormy Sunset
Artist Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña
Artist dates 1807 - 1876
Date made 1850
Medium and support Oil on wood, probably mahogany
Dimensions 37.1 × 54.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2633
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Common with Stormy Sunset
Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña

A small dark silhouetted figure sits fishing at the edge of a pool. The location is almost certainly near the village of Barbizon in the forest of Fontainebleau. This is an early example of Diaz’s numerous paintings of watery plains with solitary fishermen, dominant trees standing out against dramatic skies, and light reflected in water. The composition and light effects of these works show the influence of Théodore Rousseau, whom Diaz famously followed into the forest of Fontainebleau in around 1836 to observe how he painted.

In the sky, darker grey clouds hint at a passing storm, and strong sloping strokes on the horizon at the left suggest rainfall. The horizon at the right is clearer, the feathery outlines of bushes standing out against a pale grey. In general, the paint is thickly applied, but in some areas the paint layers and ground have been scraped back to reveal the warm colour of the wood panel itself.

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