Eyes to behold stunning artworks in world-class museums.


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Trees are a ubiquitous feature of the natural world, and have been the subject of art and myth since time immemorial. In The Metropolitan Museum, there are many artworks that depict trees, some of which date back thousands of years. These artworks provide a window into how different cultures have viewed and interacted with trees over time.

The Falls of Niagara

American, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 1780–1849 Newton, Pennsylvania / The Met

    The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.
    The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822.

Trees and Houses Near the Jas de Bouffan

French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence / The Met

    Paul Cezanne is rightly remembered for his important contribution to the rise of Modernism in the twentieth century.
    His paintings introduced a novel visual language of form, perspective, and structure, challenging age-old conventions in the formal arrangement of a picture.
    "Trees and Houses near the Jas de Bouffan" was painted "sur le motif," directly from nature, its view taken south of the Jas de Bouffan, the Cezanne family residence near Aix-en-Provence.
    Cezanne treats his subject with great economy:his brush marks are lean and articulated, his palette of yellows and greens is relatively simple, and areas of the canvas are unbrushed, exposing ground in patches that read as color.
    All his life, Cezanne played with spatial relationships in nature, whether working from life or from memory.
    Here the bare, attenuated trees appear as a frieze against the zones of recessive color, applied as though watercolor, not oil, were the medium.

"'Umar Walks around Fulad Castle, Meets a Foot Soldier and Kicks Him to the Ground", Folio from a Hamzanama (The Adventures of Hamza)

Indian, active ca. 1570–1604 / The Met

    The Hamzanama recounts the fable of Hamza, an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad who was a legendary defender of the faith.
    This painting illustrates an episode involving 'Umar, a spy loyal to Hamza, who learns of a secret tunnel into Fulad castle from the soldier whom he has bested.
    It comes from a multivolume, large-scale copy of the text made for the emperor Akbar that took approximately fifteen years to complete.
    Unlike most books, its paintings were probably meant to be held up for an audience while a storyteller recited the text.

The Forest at Pontaubert

French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris / The Met

    Seurat spent two months in the late summer and early fall of 1881 in Pontaubert, a village southeast of Paris once frequented by Daubigny, Corot, and other Barbizon landscape painters.
    His visit inspired this sous-bois or forest glade, which Seurat probably completed that winter in the studio he shared with his traveling companion and fellow artist Aman-Jean.
    With its concert of greens, its subtle, shimmering light effects, and its vertical pattern of tree trunks, this work anticipates the verdant settings of Seurat's monumental Bathers at Asnières in London (1884) and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte in Chicago (1884 - 86).

Woodland Scene

Dutch, Nijmwegen 1791–1873 Brummen / The Met

    The painting depicts a forest with sunlight filtering through the trees.
    The painting is unusual for the artist, who is better known for his views of Dutch city streets and interiors.
    The painting was likely originally sketched in black chalk out in nature and then completed in the studio.

A Man Leaning on a Parapet

French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris / The Met

    This painting was one of the artist's earliest works, and it relates to pictures he made about 1880-81 that show single figures absorbed in thought or engaged in labor.
    The composition reveals his incipient talent for carefully calibrated light effects, bold silhouettes, and flat, geometric forms.
    Just visible through the leaves is the dome of the Institut de France, across the Seine from the Louvre in Paris.

Allée of Chestnut Trees

British, Paris 1839–1899 Moret-sur-Loing / The Met

    In the 1860's, Sisley met Pissarro, Monet, Bazille, and Renoir, with whom he brought forth the practice of painting directly from nature.
    Sisley enjoyed short-lived but considerable success during the 1870's.
    Sisley painted this view of a curved pathway lined with chestnut trees in full bloom.

Reciting Poetry in a Garden

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
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From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
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From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
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