Developments in the 19th Century


Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map


The Birth of Realism


Narcisse Diaz de la Pena



Narcisse Diaz de la Pena

(b Bordeaux, 21 Aug 1807; d Menton, 18 Nov 1876).

 French painter. After the death of his Spanish parents he was taken in by a pastor living in Bellevue (nr Paris). In 1825 he started work as an apprentice colourist in Arsène Gillet’s porcelain factory, where he became friendly with Gillet’s nephew Jules Dupré and made the acquaintance of Auguste Raffet, Louis Cabat and Constant Troyon. At this time he executed his first oil paintings of flowers, still-lifes and landscapes. Around 1827 Diaz is thought to have taken lessons from the Lille artist François Souchon (1787–1857); perhaps more importantly, he copied works by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and Correggio in the Louvre, Paris, and used their figures and subjects in such later paintings as Venus and Adonis and the Sleeping Nymph (both Paris, Mus. d’Orsay). He soon became the friend of Honoré Daumier, Théodore Rousseau and Paul Huet. Diaz’s pictures exhibited at the Salon from 1831 to 1844 derive from numerous sources, including mythology, as in Venus Disarming Cupid (exh. Salon 1837; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), and literature, as in Subject Taken from Lewis’s ‘The Monk’ (exh. Salon 1834; possibly the picture in the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, entitled Claude Frollo and Esmerelda). His other themes include a fantastical Orientalism inspired by his admiration for Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps and Eugène Delacroix, as in Eastern Children (Cincinnati, OH, Taft Mus.) and such genre scenes as In a Turkish Garden (Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.); these are all the more theatrical in that Diaz never travelled in the East. Nevertheless, they display his skill as a colourist and his ability to render light.


Venus and Cupid


The Old Windmill near Barbizon


Women Of The Seraglio


Flight of the Turks


The Road in the Wood


Storm in the forest of Fontainbleau


Nymphs In The Forest Fontainbleau




Wooded landscape

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