LE NAIN brothers
(b. 1598/1610, Laon, d. Louis and Antoine: 1648, Mathieu: 1677, Paris)

Landscape with Peasants and a Chapel

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Oil on canvas, 41 x 55 cm
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

Like their peasant scenes, the landscapes of the Le Nain brothers are careful observations of what they saw, rather than derivations from other painters' works. An example is this painting, in which, although figures dominate the foreground, the main effort has been concentrated on the landscape. In the distance there is a large village with traces of its decaying fortifications, and a small Gothic chapel outside its walls. Such a sight may still be seen today, in the remoter parts of northern and eastern France. Again, the Le Nain brothers have told us what the people and the landscape of the time looked like.