Paris at Sunset
Oil on canvas; labelled.
18 x 24 inches
Anthony, born in Manchester and trained in Paris, was at Fontainebleau in 1837 with the first generation of Barbizon painters. There he absorbed the influence of Jules Dupré, whose sonorous sunsets were often painted out-of-doors from nature. In England, Anthony was hailed as the heir to Constable (who had died in 1837), and mixed with the Pre-Raphaelites. Madox Brown was a particular friend.
This picture was painted from the vicinity of the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, and although the label says that it is daybreak, we are looking west to the setting sun with the Panthéon on the left and the towers of Notre Dame in the centre distance. The radiance of the dawn reflects on the Seine and creates resonant shadows in the foreground. The red cap of one of the figures in the foreground is a direct nod to Constable, but the visionary sky is unrestrainedly Romantic, in the French manner.