Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse Virgile (1808-1876) by Scholes, Robert

Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña (1808 – 1876) He was born in Bordeaux of Spanish parents. At first a figure-painter who indulged in strong color, in his later life Diaz became a painter of the forest and a tone artist of the first order. He spent much time at Barbizon; and although he is the least exalted of the half-dozen great artists who are usually grouped round that name, he sometimes produced works of the highest quality. At the age of ten Diaz became an orphan, and misfortune dogged his earlier years. His foot was bitten by a snake in Meudon wood, near Sevres, where he had been taken to live with some friends of his mother. The bite was badly dressed, and ultimately it cost him his leg. Afterwards his wooden stump became famous. At fifteen he entered the studios at Sevres, where the decoration of porcelain occupied him; but tiring of the restraint of fixed hours, he took to painting Eastern figures dressed in richly colored garments. Turks and Oriental scenes attracted him, and many brilliant gems remain of this period. Later, he met and other Barbizon painters and learned from them. Daubigny

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