The handling of the paint shows a nice contrast between the realistic depiction of the blasted oak where Michallon is clearly indebted to the example of Jacob Ruisdael, and the fluid freedom of the reed with its decorative quality reminiscent of Boucher.

The subject matter of the painting is taken from a fable by La Fontaine and, noting the year it was painted, 1816, it is hard not to conclude that it was chosen as a commentary on the fall of Napoleon.


Sale in Paris, 1942; James Mackinnon.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Trumpington Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1RB
01223 332900

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm

Sun & Bank Holidays, 12noon – 5pm

Closed Mon, 24 – 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan

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