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Storytelling in Miniature

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot
French, 1796–1875

Ville d’Avray

Etching, 1862
3 1/8 x 5 in.
Gift of Mrs. J.K. Hamilton as a memorial to Mr. & Mrs. Edward Allen, 1915.13

Associated with the Barbizon school of landscape painting, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s interests developed increasingly toward the “poetic landscape.” He preferred to paint at twilight, and his work is considered the least realistic of the Barbizon school. Corot experimented with printmaking when he had access to the materials and to a printer. In 1825 he traveled to Italy. The quality of light he experienced there influenced his art. In his landscapes, space is flattened into simple areas of shimmering lights and darks. Although Corot etched superbly, he showed very little interest in the printing process. He etched on whatever surface was near at hand—copper plates, glass plates coated with light-sensitive collodion (cliché verre), or even transfer paper—and rarely supervised the processing and printing of the images. In old age he was revered as “Père Corot,” father of the Parisian artistic community.