Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rousseau, Pierre Étienne Théodore


Born Apr. 15, 1812, in Paris; died Dec. 22, 1867, in Barbizon, Seine-et-Marne Department. French painter and graphic artist; a leader of the Barbizon school.

The formation of Rousseau’s style was based primarily on the artist’s independent study of such painters as J. van Ruysdael, J. Constable, and G. Michel. He settled in Barbizon in the mid-1830’s. Rousseau strove to be, in his own words, an “artist of his homeland,” revealing in a profoundly democratic manner the specific features of France’s rural and wild landscapes. This striving is evident in his early works (Environs of Granville, 1833, Hermitage, Leningrad) and, especially, in his mature works, which were executed in Barbizon and during the artist’s frequent trips throughout France.

Rousseau’s works are generally marked by a balanced composition, with a closed middle section created by accentuating the center of the composition. His palette was restrained, yet he convincingly rendered the materiality of objects. Subtly depicting the various states of nature and the ambience of light and air, Rousseau in many ways contributed to the development of plein-air painting. His works include The Market in Normandy (c. 1832, Hermitage, Leningrad), Avenue of Chestnut Trees (1837, Louvre, Paris), The Marsh in the Landes (1852, Louvre), The Oaks (1852, Louvre), and Barbizon Landscape (A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow).

Rousseau is also known for his drawings and etchings.


lavorskaia, N. V. Peizazh Barbizonskoi shkoly. Moscow, 1962. Pages 91–130.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.