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Villager’s Horse and Wagon Crossing a Stone Bridge

The presence of humans was needed to justify the landscape image until the late nineteenth century. The balance between man’s presence—most often represented by figures, bridges, or architecture—and the hillsides, towering trees, and creek beds of nature was often an underlying theme. Although people often made only a token appearance, some artists chose a more equal balance between the two forces, as seen in this print.

Boissieu is known to have preferred to represent the life of his native Lyons and its environs, and his meticulous descriptions of daily activities are charming and accurate records of his era. He began to specialize in the graphic mediums after his return from Italy in 1765. Like many of his contemporaries, he worked in several mediums—oils, watercolor, and engraving—but his ability also to work in various genres was less common. He chose not to specialize in one subject but was an accomplished painter of landscapes, scenes of everyday life, and portraits.

Jean Jacques de Boissieu
French, 1736–1810
Villager’s Horse and Wagon Crossing a Stone Bridge
1799, printed ca. 1820
Etching and drypoint on paper
Image: 12 ½ x 18 ¾ in. (31.7 x 47.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 69.95.2