Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (artist)|
French, 1796 - 1875
Beach near Etretat, c. 1872
oil on canvas
overall: 12.3 x 25.5 cm (4 13/16 x 10 1/16 in.) framed: 25.4 x 38.1 x 3.2 cm (10 x 15 x 1 1/4 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection
Object 3 of 7
This painting is an oil sketch. Painted outdoors within a few hours, it was meant to record Corot's direct impression of the landscape. Its long, sweeping brushstrokes capture in shorthand the look and "feel" of light and weather. Such small works, never intended as finished paintings, were part of the normal practice of landscape artists. By referring to them later, a painter could re-create in his more elaborate studio paintings the freshness and immediacy of his initial observation. The outdoor sketch was like notes taken from nature, data to be transformed through the artist's imagination in the studio into finished, salable works.
Corot and fellow landscape artists working in the forest of Fontainebleau were important influences on the impressionists, not only in their commitment to plein-air painting, but also in their adoption of a brighter palette. Corot, using a light-colored ground, suffused his paintings with a silvery light and poetic feel. Pissarro, in particular, identified himself as Corot's student, and in the horizontal layering of his landscapes is a legacy of Corot's classical training and careful compositions.
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