Alexandre Gabriel Decamps
Rustic Courtyard in Fontainebleau

Interior of a Rustic Courtyard in Fontainebleau
Alexandre Gabriel Decamps (1803-1860)
Interior of a Rustic Courtyard in Fontainebleau
Circa 1844
Oil in mahogany laid on board
H. 78; W. 56.5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Intérieur de cour rustique à Fontainebleau [Interior of a Rustic Courtyard in Fontainebleau]

Decamps, a reputed orientalist painter, used to stay regularly at Fontainebleau, his "beloved land" where he produced animal paintings and genre scenes which delighted the public. His Interior of a Rustic Courtyard a typical example of his genre scenes, depicts a small house, modest and well kept, which appears to have been painted from life.

The absence of a subject, the constrained space, the attention to detail – the chickens pecking about in the cobbled yard, and the presence of an old woman in the doorway – reveal the artist's fondness for 17th century Dutch painting, a style he spent much time studying at the Louvre.
But this very typical view of a farmyard in the Ile de France still bears the mark of the painter's fascination for the sunlight of the Orient. The blue, almost violet sky reveals his passion for bright light and the contrasting tones it engenders, a passion he developed in Smyrna (today's Izmir in Turkey) and which would never leave him.

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