Meditate with... Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867)

Meditate with… Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867)

In the forest of Fontainebleau, at the beginning of the 19th century, a revolution was brewing. While the forestry administration has just decided to renew this massif by cutting down the old deciduous trees found in the dry moors to replace them with pines, an unexpected bronca arises. Because this forest is also the inspiring space where the painters of the Barbizon school (Seine-et-Marne) work on a daily basis. The resistance is organized. And it paid off: thirty years of struggle later, the first nature reserve in the world was created there, preserving more than 1,000 hectares of this ancient forest.

The young Théodore Rousseau, who in 1837 had been one of those painters who became environmental activists before their time, set up his workshop in Barbizon ten years later. With the century-old trees thus saved, he can happily paint this natural heritage that he contemplates during his field trips. This large oak which occupies the entire canvas stands out with its almost miraculous power. For, as in the parables of the Kingdom in the Gospel, each tree is the fruit of a long process of growth. Of course, an acorn is not a mustard seed. But it is the same grace that operates. In front of this tormented gray sky and an uncertain plant background, the solitary tree extends its immense branches in all directions. It becomes a universe in itself, sheltering a multitude of species of birds, insects and mammals. The realistic description of the tree brings out red spots from a few branches, more tired, against the dense and bushy green of the vigorous massifs. Everything is ready for the next party. A constantly recurring miracle of life that bears fruit in abundance.

Similar Posts