Barbizon School

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot : View of Genoa , 1834, Art Institute of Chicago , Chicago
Charles-François Daubigny : Boats on the Oise , 1865, Louvre , Paris
Jean-François Millet : Gleaners , 1857, Musée d'Orsay , Paris

The Barbizon School was formed by a group of French landscape painters towards the end of the first third of the 19th century. The artists stayed in the village of Barbizon in the Fontainebleau forest . It is not a school in the strict sense. The painters strived for neither a uniform aesthetic nor a fixed school structure. What they united was rather the rejection of academic teaching in favor of direct access to nature.

The painters' colony , which was founded by Théodore Rousseau around 1830 and existed until around 1870, had a major influence on landscape painting throughout Europe, especially Impressionism .


Instead of the images with historical, religious or mythological subjects required by the classical canon , the representatives of the Barbizon school painted small-format landscapes. Characteristic for the school was the turn to realistic nature representation in contrast to the classical, idealistic landscape composition. This new view of the paysage intime , which was already transitioning to Impressionism , became a trademark of the group.

Since the unifying element of the group was less the turning towards a certain goal than the turning away from academic classicism, the painters differed in their respective views.

In contrast to classic studio painting , the artists first made sketches in the open air and later finished their works in the studio.

While most of the paintings are seen as more sentimental nowadays, some were considered radical at the time of creation because of their social realism, for example the picture Gleaners by Jean-François Millet .


The painters found inspiration in the contemporary English landscape painters John Constable and William Turner and the Dutch landscape painters of the 17th century, in particular Meindest Hobbema and Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael .

Effects and Influences

The Barbizon School had a decisive influence on the Impressionists. Often in search of places for their plein air painting, they went to the forest of Fontainebleau, where they met the painters of Barbizon. Camille Pissarro was a student of Corot , who at the time was considered to be the leading landscape painter in France.

Important members of the group


  • Steven Adams: The Barbizon School and the Origin of Impressionism . Phaidon, London, 1994, ISBN 0-7148-3623-0 .
  • Konrad O. Bernheimer (Ed.): Barbizon. 19th century Paintings from a European Private Collection. Bernheimer, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-9803477-1-0 .
  • Sigrid Bertuleit, Claudia Valter: Nature as a garden - Barbizons consequences - France's painter of the Forest of Fontainebleau and Munich landscape painting . Exhibition catalog, Museum Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt, 2004, ISBN 3-9809541-1-0 .
  • Hans-Peter Bühler: The Barbizon School. French landscape painting in the 19th century. Bruckmann Verlag, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-7654-1761-0 .
  • Andreas Burmester (Ed.): Barbizon. Painting of nature, nature of painting. Klinkhardt & Biermann Verlag, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-7814-0424-2 .
  • Gerhard Finckh (Ed.): Barbizon Adventure - Landscape, Painting and Photography from Corot to Monet. Kettler, Bönen 2007, ISBN 978-3-89202-066-0 .
  • Christoph Heilmann, John Sillevis, Michael Clarke: Corot, Courbet and the Barbizon painters - Les amis de la nature . Exhibition catalog, Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munich, Berlin, 1996,
  • Bernd Müllerschön / Thomas Maier: The painters of the Barbizon school. Pioneer of impressionism. With biographies and descriptions of works by 70 artists. Ed. Thombe, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-935252-01-3 .
  • NN: Back to nature - the Barbizon artists' colony, its prehistory and its impact . Exhibition catalog, Kunsthalle Bremen, Hauschild, Bremen, 1977
  • Vincent Pomarède: L'école de Barbizon. Peintre en plein air avant l'impressionisme . Union des Musées Nationaux, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-7118-4356-4 .
  • Gerda Wendermann (Ed.): Out into nature! Barbizon, the Weimar School of Painting and the dawn of impressionism . Kerber, 2010, ISBN 3-86678-381-7 .

Web links

Commons : School of Barbizon  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Gabriele Crepaldi: The impressionism. Artists, works, facts, collectors, scandals (“Gli atlante dell'oimpressionismo”). DuMont Verlag, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8321-9018-7 , p. 32.
  2. ^ Peter Wulf Hartmann: Art Lexicon. Self-published, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-9500612-0-7 .