Cover image for Impressions of light : the French landscape from Corot to Monet
Impressions of light : the French landscape from Corot to Monet
Shackelford, George T. M., 1955-
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass, : MFA Publications, [2002]

Physical Description:
291 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
General Note:
Catalog of an exhibition held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Dec. 15, 2002-April 13, 2003.
Added Corporate Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND1356.5 .S53 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This large, lavish journey through the art of the 19th-century French landscape offers a host of masterful works, among them Corot's Forest of Fontainbleau, Millet's End of the Hamlet of Gruchy, Renoir's Rocky Crags at L'Estaque, and Monet's Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur. As is often the case, however, some of the most wonderful things to see are also the least expected: rare and unusual monotypes by Degas, three states of a softground etching by Pissarro, and numerous works by some of their lesser-known but equally important contemporaries. Unlike previous books on the topic, Impressions of Lightpresents a unique and stunningly complete group of work that introduces a new level of complexity into the discussion of French landscapes. Rather than considering the landscape as a steady, linear development and the product of a single medium, it takes into account the many crosscurrents and intersecting developments in French art, from the Barbizon school through the post-Impressionist period. In addition, it studies the landscape in a variety of media--painting, prints, and photography--exploring both the individual artists' perceptions and the ways in which they influenced each other. With over 80 paintings and 70 works on paper from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's collections, and published to accompany a major exhibition, Impressions of Lightencompasses more than 100 years and 56 artists working in a dozen different media. It holds the broadest possible view, yet never loses sight of the extraordinary intricacy that makes the landscape so enduringly appealing.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

There are several things that distinguish this book from the plethora of studies devoted to Impressionism. For one, the study is based on the incomparable collection of French 19th-century art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This allows Shackelford, an authority on the period, to discuss in his introductory essay the development of French landscape painting in a broader context than usual; thus, we are introduced to unfamiliar but highly important artists from both the early part of the century (Valenciennes, Bidaud, d'Aligny) and the later (H.E. Cross). Secondly, the authors extensively incorporate sketches, drawings, and graphic works to supplement their treatment of major works, and some of these are stunningly beautiful and fully deserving of notice. Finally, a welcome addition is that the study enlarges the subject of landscape to include contemporary photography. Also important to note for the history of patronage and taste in this country are Shackelford's remarks on how the collection came to be assembled. Along with an essay, each work is illustrated with a color plate. For all this, the book is a remarkable value. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. L. R. Matteson University of Southern California