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An Apple-Tree at a Stream

Maksymilian Gierymski1868

The National Museum in Krakow

The National Museum in Krakow
Kraków, Poland

In the art of Maksymilian Gierymski, landscape expressed the Romantic belief about a bond between man and nature. The artist developed a type of landscape combining the authenticity of observation and the subjective, poetic experience of nature. Gierymski’s forest landscapes were painted based on plein-air studies. A forest or a grove provided scenery for the so-called zopf hunting trips, that is scenes rendered in neo-Rococo costumes, sometimes including animal staffage, for example, horses. An Apple-Tree at a Stream was inspired by the works of the French Barbizon School and Munich landscape painters. This unconventional landscape is marked by the simplicity of the motif. It depicts a part of the forest with a wild apple tree with fantastically twisted branches, which is bending over a stream. The composition is built up of the area of the ground, rendered in beiges and browns, and an olive thicket of trees and bushes. Diffused light, coming from an invisible source, softly highlights the shapes of nature. The interior of the forest, with dense composition and in close up, is imbued with a calm, intimate and a bit melancholic aura.

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