A pair: 'A moonlit rocky landscape with figures by a campfire' and 'A stormy landscape with shepherds'
Both pastel on primed canvas
570 × 810 mm. (22 ½ × 31 ⅞ in.)
Framed Dimensions:710.5 x 950 mm. (28 1/3 x 37 3/8 in.)
Further information:After having worked for Marie-Antoinette at the Petit Trianon in 1778, Pillement - indefatigable voyager at the service of the Courts of Europe - travelled to the Iberian Peninsula. He executed this pair of pastels during his second stay in Portugal, between 1780 and 1786, when he was official painter to Queen Maria I and King Pedro III. He then moved to Spain, where he worked for King Charles IV.
Famous for his delicate 'chinoiseries', as well as for bucolic landscapes, from 1780 Pillement turned towards new types of landscapes. Dramatic and terrifying, they were a response to contemporary ideas of the Sublime, aiming to be 'productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling' (Edmund Burke, 1757). They included shipwrecks and ships caught up in violent storms, such as in 'The Tempest' (dated 1782) at the Art Institute of Chicago, or scenes of storms where the unleashed forces of nature test the otherwise peaceful lives of shepherds, as in this 'Stormy landscape'.
Night scenes, as this 'Moonlit rocky landscape with figures by a campfire', are particularly rare in Pillement's work, offering opportunities to excel in the depiction of light, contrasting the cold, silvery moonlight with the comforting, reddish light of the fire.
Both pastels, exceptionally fresh and in perfect condition, are in Louis XVI period frames.