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Repoussoir

Repoussoir

[ruh-poo-swahr]

For metalworking, see Repoussé and chasing.

In two-dimensional works of art, such as painting, printmaking, photography or bas-relief, repoussoir is an object along the right or left foreground that directs the viewer's eye into the composition by bracketing the edge. It became popular with Mannerist and Baroque artists, and is found frequently in Dutch seventeenth-century landscape paintings. Jacob van Ruisdael, for example, often include a tree along one side to enclose the scene (see illustration). Figures are also commonly employed as repoussoir devices by artists such as Paolo Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens (see illustration) and Impressionists such as Gustave Caillebotte (see illustration).

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