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Forest Scene by Unknown Artist
Forest Scene by Unknown Artist

Forest Scene, 1595

Unknown Artist

This moody scene painted on black paper shows a forest at night, the trees’ spreading leaves and gnarled trunks illuminated by moonlight. The twisted trees cast looming shadows on the maze of paths, while the dell beyond is bathed in an otherworldly light. Humans appear only in the background, in between the twisted tree trunks: two tiny figures making their way to the moated fortress. The monochrome technique, known as grisaille, allowed the artist to show off the range of colors and effects possible within a grayscale composition.

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Credit
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
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