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Jean-Charles Cazin


Jean-Charles Cazin's (1841–1901) early landscapes embody the intimacy and mood typical of the Barbizon School in the 1860s, where depiction of scenery per se had already displaced Classicist ideals. He later gained prominence for his village landscapes, in which the successfully captured evening light was to inspire many Symbolist artists.

Born in Samer in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, Cazin trained at the École Gratuite de Dessin in Paris under Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran. He was deeply impressed by Boisbaudran’s method, which stressed the importance of heightening perception through painting from memory.

Cazin’s early works were influenced by the Barbizon School but in the early 1880s, responding to the mural schemes of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, he began working in tonal, pastel colours, lightening his palette. He produced several large figural compositions featuring biblical figures, set against the landscape of the Pas-de-Calais.

However, he soon returned to pure landscape, painting atmospheric moonlit scenes in the area around Equihen, where he rented a summer cottage. He was especially known for his views of uninhabited village streets or deserted squares, often illuminated by a single light.