Pastoral scenes on display from the Barbizon SchoolFarmers resting against bales of hay or leading cows into a meadow, a peasant woman carrying buckets of water or raking hay in a serene rural village near the forest of Fontainebleau ― all were subjects of paintings by the Barbizon School artists of 19th-century France.
A group of naturalist landscape painters ― Theodore Rousseau, Camille Corot, Narcisse Diaz de la Pena, Constant Troyon, Jules Dupre, Jean-Francois Millet, and Charles-Francois Daubigny ― gathered in the vicinity of Barbizon, a village on the outskirts of Paris, in the 1840s and 1850s, and espoused an approach to art that eventually led to both Realism and Impressionism. As the Barbizon School painters became well known, even in the United States, many Impressionist artists also flocked to Fontainebleau to paint.
An exhibition titled “Millet, Corot and Pleiades of the Barbizon School,” at the Seoul Arts Center, displays 106 pieces by 31 of these artists. Barbizon School painters depicted life and nature in a lyrical manner without overly idealizing or beautifying them. The son of a farmer himself, Millet lived in Barbizon for 27 years and painted the everyday life of farmers.
Millet is mostly associated with the Barbizon School, though he was an important precursor to Realism. Among his 22 paintings on display are “Returning from the Fields” and “Woman Returning from the Well,” as well as a print version of “The Gleaners.”
Corot is considered one of the most famous Romantic landscape painters. His faithfully reproduced landscapes and historical and religious subjects greatly influenced early Impressionist painters. Displayed in this show are “Women Picking Daisies” and “Ville D’Avray, Pond and Woman Keeping her Cow.”
The collection is on loan from Korean-Japanese entrepreneur Jin Chang-shik. Impressed by a copy of Millet’s “The Evening Bell,” he decided to collect paintings and has since become a Barbizon connoisseur.
by Limb Jae-un
The exhibition continues at the Hangaram Art Museum at the Seoul Arts Center until Aug. 28. Ticket prices are 5,000 won to 9,000 won. For information, call (02) 580-1400.