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Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña, The Storm

Key facts
Full title The Storm
Artist Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña
Artist dates 1807 - 1876
Date made 1871
Medium and support Oil on mahogany
Dimensions 61.3 × 76.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2632
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Storm
Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña

This landscape, imbued with strong natural and dramatic effects, is typical of Diaz’s late work. The view is across the desolate heathlands near the village of Barbizon. The combination of the dominant stormy sky with its mass of grey clouds and the bleak plain conjures up the terrors of a storm out in the open. The sky breaks only at the centre to show patches of blue, an unseen sun casting light onto the path below. To the right of this path a man carrying a gun is accompanied by two dogs.

Diaz has adapted his brushstrokes to the drama of the scene. The landscape is painted in short, choppy, horizontal and diagonal strokes, whereas the treatment of the sky, with multi-directional and expansive brushwork, echoes the stormy weather it describes. At the centre, vertical strokes are brought down over the tops of the bushes, perhaps suggesting rainfall.

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