Skip to Main Content

Introduction to the Exhibition—Corot: Women

Mary Morton, curator and head, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is best known as the great master of landscape painting in the 19th century who bridged the French neoclassical tradition with the impressionist movement of the 1870s. In honor of the opening of the exhibition Corot: Women, Mary Morton argues that Corot’s figure paintings, although constituting a much smaller, less well-known portion of his oeuvre, are of equal importance to the history of art, in particular for the founders of modernist painting such as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. Dressed in rustic Italian costume or nude on a grassy plain, Corot’s women read, dream, and gaze directly at the viewer, conveying a sense of their inner lives. On September 9, 2018, at that National Gallery of Art, Morton explains how Corot’s sophisticated use of color and his deft, delicate touch applied to the female form resulted in pictures of quiet majesty. Corot: Women is on view through December 31, 2018.