Corot – The painter and his models

Exhibition from Feb 8th to July 8th 2018   The lovely Marmottan Monet Museum presents (until July 8) a rare display of intimate paintings of one of the great French masters of the 19th century. Camille Corot (1796-1875) was mostly known and trained in the neoclassical style which featured landscapes and traditional themes. But he was also a very avant-garde painter who took deep interest in faces and figures, as well as bodies. He produced many such works, among which the “Lady with the Pearl” and “Marietta” are widely known.

Camille Corot, “Marietta” ou “L’Odalisque romaine”, 1843

The present exhibition is a blend of works from various museums and private collections of Europe and the US, like the Louvre, the Met in New York, or the National Gallery of London. Such a tribute to the master has not been made in France since 1996, which adds to the rather exceptional aspect of the exhibition. About 60 different works are presented. Camille Corot studied at the Academy Suisse in Paris, a disciple of David, THE painter of the Napoleonic era. Later Manet, Cezanne, Monet, and Pissarro also studied at the same academy. Corot was most respected and loved both for his work but also for his personality. He was known for his amazing generosity, having helped friends (Millet’s widow) and people (the Parisian population during the civil war of 1871 in Paris). He was even gracefully given the 1st prize of the National Painting Salon by his peers as an acknowledgment of his great contribution to the world of painting, despite not having officially won it. Monet’s praise of Corot was absolute and unreserved. Observing his works at an exhibition in 1897, he declared: “There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing, compared to him. Nothing.”

Camille Corot, “La Poésie,” 1868

Critics were both impressed by his mastery of nature descriptions and classicists loved his treatment of major themes, even though each of them would have liked more of one or less of the other. Corot was actually one of the first figures of the Barbizon School of painting related to the Fontainebleau movement and beautiful depictions of nature. Corot reached maturity around the 1850 s and was by then quite famous. He had more leisure to paint the more intimate dimensions of his work, which we can appreciate in this sumptuous event.   Musee Marmottan 2 rue Louis Boilly 75016 Open 10am-5:30 pm Late nights on Thursday up to 8:30 pm Closed on Mondays   D.A.


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