Josephine Sarazin de Belmont
Crossing the Ford, Circa 1830
Oil on canvas
Monogrammed on the lower right corner
Size: 48 x 59cm
With frame 75 x 87 cm
The artist depicts the passage of beasts between the banks of the bed of the calm river. The water shimmers, the sky is reflected in it. The day is breaking, the light draws the foliage of the trees against the light. A few young women are resting, others are pushing the oxen and cows that have not yet crossed.
Joséphine Sarrazin de Belmont is a landscape painter of great sensitivity. She is the favorite pupil of master landscape architect Henri de Valenciennes, whose studio is open to women. She practices oil painting in the “open air” on small, easily transportable formats.
A great traveler, she discovered Germany and Italy. She brings back a large quantity of sketches and drawings from her first trips to Italy. She is one of the first artists to paint the forest of Fontainebleau, Brittany and the Pyrenees.
Her career is long, she exhibited at the Salons from 1812 to 1868. She received the support of important personalities such as Empress Josephine. The Duchess of Berry collects his travel paintings, she twelve of his views of Italy. His Paris studio in the Saint Germain district was frequented by the greatest artists of the time, including Jean-Baptiste Ingres and Jean Gros.
Joséphine Sarrazin de Belmont occupies a pivotal position between the tradition of classical landscape and the birth of open-air landscape. She renounces the mythological or romantic anecdote in favor of landscapes animated by characters from everyday life taken up with their occupation. The composition, the soft golden light and the attention to detail of this painting testify to its fidelity to the classical landscape. The artist sought panoramic views that enlarge the space.
• Gérard Schurr, Pierre Cabane, Dictionary of the little masters of painting, 1820-1920 , t. II, Paris, Editions de l’Amateur, 1996.
• Lydia Harambourg, Dictionary of French landscape painters of the 19th century, Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Editions Ides et Calendes, 1985, p. 313
• Louvre Museum, Angers, Montauban, Nantes, Toulouse. Dresden, Hanover, Munich in Germany. Metropolitan Museum of New York, National Gallery of Art of Washington in the United States.