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Site in Italy, 1839

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

French, 1796-1875
Oil on canvas
21-1/4 x 32 in. (54 x 81.3 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Donald Ellis Simon
F.1971.1.2.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Corot lived in Italy from 1825 to 1828 but painted this picture over a decade later, back in Paris, from memory and imagination. He turned for inspiration (and competition) to the seventeenth-century master Claude Lorrain, father of French classical landscape, who had spent his career in Italy. With its goatherd and flock, its trees, water, and distant citadel all bathed in golden light, this picture is among the most compelling products of Corot’s engagement with Claude. He likely exhibited it at the Salon of 1839, and although his own style took a more distinctive, modern turn in the 1840s, he remained true to the old master’s methods, continuing to work from memory and imagination.

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