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Recollection of Mortefontaine

also known as Souvenir de Mortefontaine

Artist: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Created: 1864
Dimensions (cm): 88.9 x 64.8
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Musee du Louvre, Paris, France



Recollection of Mortefontaine

“There is only one master here - Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing.” - Claude Monet, 1897

In 1864, master painter John-Baptiste-Camille Corot created ‘Recollection of Mortefontaine’, or as it is known in its original French language, ‘Souvenir de Mortefontaine’. This oil painting on canvas is a notable demonstration of Corot’s artistic progression after 1850.

‘Recollection of Mortefontaine’ touches viewers with its aura of tranquility. The hazy atmosphere that encompasses the entire canvas, brought about by the delicate lighting, suggests an early morning in the French countryside. The subdued green and brown tones of the landscape complement the washed-out hues of the sky and water, offering a certain sense of mystique and silence. On the left of the painting are three girls who seem captivated by the tall, thin, lifeless tree that curves into the paleness of the sky. Its juxtaposition in relation to the majestic tree on the right not only produces a powerful contrast, but also triggers curiosity in the onlooker. Why are the subjects intrigued with the skeletal tree? Why are they not admiring the strong, healthy branches of the lush one? John-Baptiste-Camille Corot made it a habit to paint most of his landscape portraits outdoors, rather than being confined within the walls of his studio; however, those titles with the words “memories or souvenirs” were most often created in studio.

Quotes

John-Baptiste-Camille Corot became renowned for his numerous quotes regarding art, nature, and life in general.
• On beauty: “Beauty in art is truth bathed in an impression received from nature. I am struck upon seeing a certain place. While I strive for conscientious imitation, I yet never for an instant lose the emotion that has taken hold of me.”
• On emotion: “Never lose the first impression which has moved you.”
• On sincerity: “Be guided by feelings alone... Before any site and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression. If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion.”

‘Recollection of Mortefontaine’ (Souvenir de Mortefontaine) is currently located at the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France.



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