Born in Paris, Th�odore Rousseau seems to have been initially stimulated to paint landscapes by a cousin. The example of Dutch painting supplemented the formal instruction that Rousseau received from minor artists of his own time. A precocious artist, he was painting from nature at the age of 15.
Rousseau's fundamentally romantic spirit is well expressed in one of his own statements: "I also heard the voices of the trees . whose passions I uncovered. I wanted to talk with them . and put my finger on the secret of their majesty."
Dependent though he was on Dutch and, to lesser degree, on English painting, Rousseau was also inspired directly by nature, as were his successors, the Impressionists. Like them, he put a particular emphasis on light, but on a light that has a more symbolic and a less naturalistic character.