Rocky Forest Valley at Civita Castellana

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot1826/1827

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

This painting allows the viewer to share in Corot’s first experience of Italy. One of the artist’s early studies, it was painted in 1826/27 and shows a wooded rocky landscape some fifty kilometres north of Rome on a warm summer evening. The small picture does not comply with nineteenth-century academic principles. Painted relatively quickly, it was never intended for exhibition at the annual Salon. Despite the sketchy, cursory treatment, the study conveys the sense of the Arcadian wellbeing that characterises Corot’s later paintings. The low viewpoint and the suggested but not fully resolved planes draw us into this glimpse of nature, inviting us to follow the little path flanked by two sunlit boulders on the lower right. The exploratory wander would lead us into the valley and onto the plateau atop the forbidding cliff face on the left and finally to the softly rolling hill in the distance.

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