Jean-Baptiste Corot (1796-1875), 'Willows', c.1860

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875)

Willows, c.1860

Oil on panel, 11 x 23 cm
Bequeathed, Mr E. Martyn, 1924

In this small oil study Corot depicts a riverbank lined with trees. He has used soft brushstrokes to suggest the foliage and dark sketchy marks to delineate the structure of the trunks and branches. At the far side of the river, grey silhouettes are used to suggest the forms of buildings. Corot painted this work in the later part of his career. During this period he grew less concerned with topographical details and more interested in creating atmospheric effects, which he achieved by applying light touches of paint in silvery-grey tones. Corot often referred to such paintings as ‘souvenirs’, as he based them upon his memories and observations of landscapes.


About the artist

Corot was a leading member of the Barbizon school. Barbizon artists pioneered a new approach to landscape painting by working outdoors, directly from nature. Their methods were adopted by many Impressionist artists. Corot taught Berthe Morisot and was also closely linked to Boudin, Pissarro and Sisley. In his later years he was affectionately called ‘Père Corot’ (‘Father Corot’) by younger artists.