European
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Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (French, 1796–1875),
Château-Thierry , 1855
oil on canvas, 13 ¾ x 23 in.; 34.93 x 58.42 cm
Museum purchase, 1942.1

Although trained in the neoclassical tradition, Corot supported the new, realistic approach to nature proposed in the 1830s by the young Barbizon artists (named after the village outside Paris where they gathered). Typical of plein-air (out-of-doors) painting, Corot’s landscapes record the particulars of geography and weather. At the same time — a legacy of his classical training — they are images of idyllic calm, a condition evoked by their silvery atmosphere and feathery, delicate brush work. Corot painted several views of the northern French village of Château-Thierry between 1855 and 1865. Although depicting everyday reality, they emphasize peaceful moods rather than the bustle of activities and events.

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