18th-Century French School, Dark Arcadian Landscape

18th-Century French School, Dark Arcadian Landscape

A large 18th-century French school depiction of an Arcadian landscape with figures. The rigours of time have resulted in the surface becoming so dark that the scenery is almost a mere silhouette. A clean would reveal its true identity but isn’t it so much better like this?

It’s intriguing to find a canvas that’s been left untouched for 250 years as usually oil paintings of this age have been cleaned at least once or twice. If this was an 18th-century portrait, we would almost certainly clean it but, in this instance, the combination of an idealised landscape and a dark surface seems to work well. 

Underneath the darkening, the landscape is modelled in a style akin to the great French masters - Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) and Claude Lorrain (1600-1682). Landscapes such as this were designed from the imagination and glorified the ancient world to create a romanticised view of nature.

The painting is housed within an outstanding handcrafted 18th-century gilt frame with foliate decoration and swept corners.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 38” x 27” / 97cm x 69cm
Year of creation: c. 1750
Provenance: France
Condition: Craquelure but the paint is stable. Extensive darkening. Frame with some light age-related wear.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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