The location of this scene, probably near Paris, has not been identified with certainty. Unlike most painters of this time, Michel never traveled to Italy and focused only on depicting locations in France. Michel was always interested in Dutch art, however, and was nicknamed the "French Ruisdael"-a reference to the 17th-century Dutch landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682). After about 1808, Michel explored personal interpretations of landscape, focusing on light, sky, and space. The brooding, vaguely threatening atmosphere in this painting embodies the Romantic notion that human beings are insignificant relative to the larger forces of nature.
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