The Lime Kiln (About 1790 - 1810)
About this artwork
This sombre landscape painting shows a stretch of rolling country under a stormy sky. A roadway leads towards a smoking lime-kiln and one or two cottages standing upon a ridge. Lime kilns were a feature of the French landscape from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. They were used for the production of quicklime, which had numerous applications from paper bleaching to building. In Michel’s painting the smoke escapes into the atmosphere, its dark plume echoed by the grey cloud that sweeps across the sky. The melancholy tone of the painting, with its gathering storm clouds and shafts of sunlight, is typical of Michel, who was inspired by Dutch seventeenth-century landscape and was known as the ‘Ruisdael of Montmartre’.