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Oct. 29 Art Minute: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Canal in Picardy

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875) Canal in Picardy. Oil on canvas, about 1865-71. Gift of Arthur J. Secor, 1922.20. Gallery 33.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was the leading French landscape painter of his time. Canal in Picardy depicts a wistful, idyllic scene of springtime in the northern French region of Picardy. In the midst of the diffuse lighting and "soft-focus" shapes of the countryside, three rural figures go about their work in the delicate shade of three tall birch trees. The male figure on the far left holds perhaps a farm implement, while the female figure in the center crouches down at the edge of the canal as another figure looks on.

The view depicted is probably located near the towns of Douai and Arras, an area interlaced by canals that Corot often visited between 1865 and 1871. The spot suited his penchant for creating hazy and subdues landscape.  

This work is currently on view in Gallery 33.