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Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, Summer

Key facts
Full title Summer
Artist Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes
Artist dates 1824 - 1898
Date made before 1873
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 43.2 × 62.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Arthur Haythorne Studd, 1919
Inventory number NG3422
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes

This oil sketch is a study for a large painting of 1873 which now hangs in the entrance hall of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Like this work, the painting is also known as The Harvest, but it is not intended to be viewed as an image of rural life, rather it is an evocation of a golden age.

There are many differences between this quickly worked sketch and the final painting as the artist sought to find the most harmonious combination of figures, landscape and colours. When Puvis de Chavannes started work on the composition, France was just emerging from a period of political and military turmoil but the picture offers instead an idyll of peace, harmony and plenty. The world the artist has conjured into being is a timeless dream realm, part biblical and part classical.

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