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In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting

May 26 – September 2, 1996
West Building Main Floor

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, The Island and Bridge of San Bartolomeo, Rome, 1825/1828, oil on paper on canvas, Patrons' Permanent Fund 2001.23.1

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 131 paintings were on loan from public and private collections. The show traced the development from roughly 1780 to 1840 of the first European school of open-air landscape painting, which was centered around Rome. The exhibition included a group of 20 Italian sketches and small finished view paintings by Camille Corot.

A special program was held in the East Building auditorium on May 26 about open-air painting and how the region around Rome became the cradle of this new approach. In the Light of Italy coincided with a bicentennial Corot exhibition organized by the Musée du Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Canada.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art and by the Brooklyn Museum in association with the Saint Louis Art Museum. Curators of the exhibition were Philip Conisbee, curator of French paintings at the National Gallery; Sarah Faunce, chairman of European paintings and sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum; and Jeremy Strick, curator of modern art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and former associate curator of 20th-century art at the National Gallery. Guest curator was Peter Galassi, chief curator of the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Sponsor: The exhibition in Washington and Brooklyn was made possible by a grant from The Florence Gould Foundation. It was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Attendance: 126,735

Catalog: In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting, by Philip Conisbee et al. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1996.

Brochure: In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting, by Isabelle Dervaux. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1996.

Other Venues: Brooklyn Museum of Art, October 11, 1996–January 12, 1997
Saint Louis Art Museum, February 21–May 18, 1997

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille
French, 1796 - 1875

Download a free PDF of the exhibition catalog (PDF 72.94MB)