Woman in the Forest
1107 Narcisse DIAZ DE LA PEÑA [1807-1876] A Woman in the Forest
oil on panel, 64 x 47,5 cm
Narcisse DIAZ DE LA PENA [1807-1876] Diaz – French painter of Spanish origin. His peculiar name „Diaz de la Peña” meaning „days of suffering” ambiguously denoted his early days of life. Orphaned in early childhood, the artist had his leg amputated after a snake bite. Those misfortunes and the lack of formal education did not erase his artistic ambition. Charmed by the painting of Antonio da Correggio and Eugène Delacroix, he copied masterpieces displayed in the Louvre and painted small romantic compositions. Diaz found employment as a porcelain painter in Parisian manufacture of Arsène Gillet, where he met Jules Dupré. It was Dupré who introduced the painter to the Forests of Fontainebleau. His close encounter with Thèodore Rousseau and the Barbizon School paved the way of his further development in the field of landscape painting. Diaz frequently exhibited his works at the Salon of Paris, in 1851 he was favoured with a distinction.
Despite his unwritten affiliation to the milieu of the Barbizon School of Painters, Diaz remained an independent artist. Two elements of his nature, Spanish mentality and French upbringing, innate in his oeuvre can be traced in the richness of colours, the intensity of light-and-shade effects, and poectic spirit of his panels. The artist specialized in sombre views of the forest with patches of blue sky seeing through the foliage of the trees. His painting is charcterised by enigmatic, mostly ephemeric style, workshopwise it stands out due to his understanding of natural colours and the use of uneven texture, magnifying the lighting effects on the suface of his paintings.