Theodore Russo (Fr. Théodore Rousseau; April 15, 1812, Paris - December 22, 1867, Barbizon) - French landscape painter, founder of a whole settlement of artists in the village of Barbizon and the discoverer of open-air painting in France. Later, the exit country association of Theodore Rousseau and his associates began to be called the Barbizon School. In addition, Rousseau is considered one of the first active defenders of nature: it was he who wrote the petition to the emperor Napoleon III demanding the creation of a reserve in the forest of Fontainebleau - and succeeded.
Rousseau was one of those happy young people whose desire to become an artist was supported by parents who had no relation to art. True, training in several famous workshops did not bring Theodor any satisfaction or important skills. Because already before he sat down to copy the plaster busts, he managed to fall in love with the forest and make dozens of field sketches. His gaze was already quite insightful, and his inclinations were fairly well formed. After the young artist did not receive a prestigious Roman award in the category of "historical landscape", he made a final conclusion: he was not on the way with the academy. Since then, he spends all the time in the suburbs of Paris - and writes nature as a separate story worthy of attention, and not as a dramatic accent in a historical event.
Such a motivating choice and an obvious naturalistic way of portraying the doors of the Salon for 6 years in front of Rousseau. But at the same time, artists gather around him who view the world in the same way: Camille Corot, Jean-Francois Millet, Diaz, Francois Daubigny.
Rousseau lived a hermit, moving to Barbizon completely. After the revolution of 1848 and the democratization of the salon demands, recognition, a medal and, of course, the first decent money fell on the Rousseau. Fontainebleau Forest has become a magnet for a new generation of artists - they made pilgrimage to Barbizon and their first open-air paintings were written here. In the gallery of almost any impressionist artist there is a landscape made at the very beginning of his career from nature in the Fontainebleau forest.
Features of Theodore Rousseau: The Theodore Rousseau’s award in Rome was deservedly denied - he was not interested in the traditional historical landscape, which was assessed by the judges. He became the first artist in France, who transferred the landscape from the category of conditional and auxiliary to the rank of independent and unique. Nature for Rousseau is an amazing organism, changeable, lively, dynamic, incomprehensible. Not adhering to the classical canons in the choice of the theme, Rousseau freed the painting from mandatory technical requirements: it is in his paintings that “incompleteness”, negligence, visibility of the work of the brush, which the impressionists will make one of the main features of the style that will bring to the revolutionary limit, appear. Rousseau is the first to abandon the canonical horizontal composition in the landscape.