Constant Troion – a brilliant French animal painter

Departure to the market. 1859. Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Departure to the market. 1859. Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Constant Troion – a brilliant French animal painter who praised rural life

Constant Troyon (born 28 August 1810 – died 21 February 1865) is a 19th century French artist, animal painter and master of landscape. The work of Constant Troion is associated with the French Barbizon school, his paintings reflect the everyday life of the countryside and hard peasant labor.

Constant Troion did not immediately achieve recognition. For a long period of time, his work attracted little attention, was considered mediocre. Instead of fashionable images of stuffed birds and animals, he painted cows, sheep, horses against the background of rural lands, pastures – and achieved perfection in this, later earning world fame.

Apple Harvest in Normandy
Apple Harvest in Normandy

Biography of Konstan Troyon

Constant Troion was born at the beginning of the turbulent 19th century, on August 28, 1810, in Sevres, a commune in southwestern Paris. The famous porcelain manufactory, where his father worked, was located here. This determined the boy’s future occupation. From an early age he joined the work of a decorator, painting sets, teapots and cups.

When the young man turned 21, he went on a trip to France, hoping to practice landscape painting. If finances were running out, Constant Troion looked for the nearest porcelain production. Since he perfectly mastered all the intricacies of decorative painting, his services were readily used, which allowed him to save money and continue his wanderings.

Approaching Storm
Approaching Storm

Serious painting began when Constant Troion became Camille Roqueplan’s favorite student. This outstanding artist introduced him to Theodore Rousseau and Jules Dupre, introduced him to the society of Barbizon painters.

The beginning of the 19th century is remarkable for the irreconcilable struggle between the classical and romantic schools.

The classics considered the landscape to be nothing more than a background, the romantics greatly embellished it. The new trend of the Barbizonians stood for realism, simple, everyday motives dedicated to people engaged in everyday work on their land.

Constant Troion warmly supported his colleagues, but he did not have great achievements in landscapes. But after a trip to the Netherlands in 1846, where he got acquainted with the works of Paulus Pieterszoon Potter and Albert Cuyp, he found his own style as an animal painter. Now his paintings are considered recognized masterpieces in the Old and New Worlds.

Cows at the Watering
Cows at the Watering

Success came to Constant Troion after 30 years of hard work. At the Paris Salons he was awarded the highest awards. His patron was the ruling monarch of France himself, Napoleon III.

Constant Troion lived a little, only 55 years. He did not marry, did not leave behind descendants, the last months of his life suffered from a nervous breakdown. The painter died in Paris, February 21, 1865. His own mother survived the artist and buried him in the Montmartre cemetery. She also established an award named after him at the School of Fine Arts, which was awarded for the best works of animal painters.

The most famous paintings by Constant Troion

Konstan Troion’s paintings are well known to a wide audience for their many large-scale engravings and reproductions. The most popular of his creations:

  1. “Men” (1830) – a drawing depicting an ordinary working scene at the mill. Included in the catalog of masterpieces of one of the private collections in Philadelphia, USA.
  2. The Road in the Forest (1840) is one of the artist’s most famous landscapes. Created based on his travels.
  3. The Watering of Cattle on the River Touque in Normandy (1851) is a daring experiment in depicting a scene against the direction of the sun’s rays. The master used this technique many times, which gave his works a special liveliness.
  4. “Oxen go to arable land. Morning Sky ”(1855) – a rural scene, according to some modern critics, reaching the level of photographic accuracy of the image taken against the light.
  5. “Road to Market” (1859) is one of three related works, telling about the gathering and travel of an ordinary peasant family on business related to the sale of livestock.
  6. The Hound (1860) is dedicated to the hunting theme, which the artist rarely touches on in his works.

Constant Troion is a wonderful animal painter, creator of living landscapes depicting ordinary rural life.

Constant Troion, Herdsman
Constant Troion, Lumberjacks
Pastoral Scene
Pastoral Scene
Constant Troion, Return of the Herd
Return of the Herd
Constant Troion, Running dogs
Running dogs
Constant Troion, troyon hunter with his dogs 1854
Troyon Hunter with his dogs 1854
Constant Troion, Watercourse in the woods
Watercourse in the woods
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