This canvas is one of a group of "souvenirs" (recollections) that Corot painted towards the end of his life in which he combined an observation of the French woodland landscape with recollections of various places in Italy. In these works Corot aimed to express the emotions aroused by the contemplation of nature rather than to depict a specific place. Solitude was painted a few months after the death of his great friend Constant Dutilleux and the painting is imbued with an air of melancholy expressed through a harmonious combination of greens, blues and greys. The woman in the centre of the composition is a modern reinterpretation of the personification of Melancholy, seemingly evoking a Golden Age that has now passed.
Exhibited at the 1866 Salon, Solitude was acquired by the Empress Eugenia de Montijo for her private collection.