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"Corot: Nature, Emotion, Souvenir"
2005-06-07 until 2005-09-11
The first monographic exhibition to be devoted to the work of Corot in Spain will be presented at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in June with the title Corot. Nature, emotion, souvenir. The phrase summarises the three keys to the exhibition: Nature, which the artist looked to for inspiration in his compositions; the emotions which Corot conveyed in his works; and the recollections which these landscapes conjured up for the artist. The exhibition consists of 80 works by one of the most important painters of the 19th century, whose work went beyond its Neo-classical roots and beyond the prevailing Realism and Romanticism of the day to become a true forerunner of Impressionism. Following its showing in Madrid, the exhibition travels to the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara.
The intention of the exhibition is to offer a complete overview of Corot’s artistic career, paying particular attention to the central subject within his oeuvre: landscape, from the most accurately observed topographical view to the luminous and spontaneous compositions which brought him fame. Corot created these compositions on the basis of studies and sketches made from life and reworked in the studio before he transferred them to the final, carefully worked-out composition. Nonetheless, his finished canvases still convey a spontaneous charm and are realised in a highly distinctive, lyrical manner. They became a source of inspiration for later generations of artists who made landscape the key theme of their works.
The exhibition also aims to focus attention on one of the most interesting and original areas of Corot’s production: the so-called souvenirs. These are a group of landscapes with Romantic connotations, conceived with a unique light and luminosity in which the forms and elements of nature – water, trees, sky – become diffused, acting as vehicles for the emotions which the artist experienced in his contact with such scenes. Corot’s souvenirs are intimate visions which convey the viewer to a world of reverie and feelings, transformed by the artist so that we participate in his own experiences through simple images charged with emotion. Among the examples of this type of work in the exhibition are several of the artist’s masterpieces in which the effects of light and his characteristic “silvery mists” can be seen together with the artist’s impeccable technique.
In addition to landscape painting, Corot also focused on figure painting or portraiture. He experimented with gestures and poses as well as the colours and textures of the striking and decorative clothes worn by his sitters. Corot turned to portraiture in the late 1830s returning to it with particular energy at the end of his career.