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Stormy Sky over Landscape with Distant Church

Jean-Michel Cels

European Art

Despite the modest scale of this sketch, Cels here pays homage to the sudden, sublime power of nature. Dark, heavy clouds—rendered in strokes of blue, gray, and purple—dwarf the low horizon of a tree-lined landscape and the steeple of a village church. The hint of bright blue sky and white-edged cloud at the top right and the sunlit salmon-colored clouds at the center suggest either the rapid approach or the break of this summer storm. The precise notation of the time—11 a.m.—in the lower left corner further underscores the artist’s attention to nature’s fleeting phenomena.
MEDIUM Oil on bluish-gray laid chain paper
  • Place Made: Belgium
  • DATES July 1838
    DIMENSIONS 6 7/8 x 11 3/8 in. (17.5 x 28.9 cm) Frame: 12 1/2 x 17 x 2 1/4 in. (31.8 x 43.2 x 5.7 cm)
    INSCRIPTIONS Lower left: "Juillet 1838/11 heures du matin"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Healy Purchase Fund B
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