Aug 12, 2013

In the Forest

In the Forest


Célestin François Nanteuil

(French, 1813–1873)

Oil on fabric

Framed: 123.2 x 155.6 x 12.7 cm (48 1/2 x 61 1/4 x 5 in.); Unframed: 97 x 129.8 cm (38 3/16 x 51 1/8 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah L. Butkin 1977.125



With its beautifully rendered trees, grassy slopes, and water bathed in late afternoon sunlight, this painting clearly suggests Nanteuil's love of nature. In 1837 he wrote to a friend: "I often spend several hours . . . looking at beautiful plants with large leaves, cut out like sumptuous lace, tall grasses in ponds, their color silky and the beautiful reflections they make in the water, the little flowers with thousands of colours the ground is embroidered with, all provide me with a source of enjoyment." Although the forest Nanteuil described seems very real, his painting includes a satyr. Seated on a stone near a stream, the half human, half goat mythological figure seems lost in the music he plays upon his pipes. Nanteuil is most famous for his lithographs and etchings; paintings by the artist are rather rare.

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