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Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña, Sunny Days in the Forest

Key facts
Full title Sunny Days in the Forest
Artist Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña
Artist dates 1807 - 1876
Date made probably 1850s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 39 × 56.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by Charles Hartree, 1906
Inventory number NG2058
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Sunny Days in the Forest
Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña

Two women gather sticks by a watery clearing in front of a group of trees. The trees are arranged in an arc, with the most prominent left of centre and the others set back on each side. The composition, which shows the influence of Théodore Rousseau, is typical of those used by Diaz in his views of the forest of Fontainebleau. The women, one in a white blouse and cap and red shawl, provide a decorative element, rather in the manner of Corot’s figures, adding a note of colour to the pervading green of the landscape.

The whole has many thick layers of paint, which may be because Diaz was emulating such Dutch seventeenth-century landscapists as Ruisdael. The trees are built up from dark to light, giving depth and three-dimensionality. The foliage is picked out with numerous touches of light paint, which gives an effect of dancing light.

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