Trees in the Snow
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Trees in the Snow about 1865

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

Courbet first started to paint snow scenes in the winter of 1856-57, but it was only in the 1860s that he developed a strong interest in this theme. He was no doubt inspired by the countryside of his native Franche-Comté, which suffered particularly heavy falls of snow in the winter of 1866-67. The foreground motif of two beech trees recurs in a number of paintings by Courbet from 1858-66. It is highly probable that this picture shows an imagined, rather than a real landscape, in which favourite landscape elements such as the beech trees were reused. Courbet’s snow scenes were a source of inspiration to the Impressionists, notably Sisley, Monet and Pissarro.

Glossary Open

Impressionism

An influential style of painting that originated in France in the 1870s with artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir and Alfred Sisley. They were interested in capturing the changing effects of light, frequently exploring this through landscape scenes painted in the open air.

Motif

A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Impressionism, Motif

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2234
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 72.30 x 91.50 cm
  • Credit Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind, 1960