Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Stragglers (1870)

Augustin Pierre Bienvenu Chenu-Fleury: The Stragglers, Snow Effect

When at the Salon of 1870 Fleury Chenu submitted a vast landscape of snow painted with meticulous technique and simple and effective composition, the painting was acquired by the state for the high price of 8000 francs.

The landscape is flat and sinks toward the horizon, stumbling upon a village almost indistinct in the background. Occupying only one-third of the height, the snowy landscape dominated by white and brown is summoned yellowish gray sky, heavy with threats, which stands just a veiled moon and orange swirl where the ominous crows. The only colorful animation between these icy worlds is in the center of the lower part, on the road that traces a gray trench where "grenadiers escort a cart in which lies a sick soldier and led by a peasant" (Théophile Gautier). Despite the animation introduced by the military group with varied attitudes and the anecdotal and sentimental presence of a dog, the snow that covered everything imposes on the whole composition a wall of silence. [L’Histoire par L’Image (via Google Translate)]

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