Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reminiscence of Corot

Reminiscence of the Beach of Naples, 1870-72
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
175 x 84 cm.
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

I am intrigued by the dimensions of this painting. Searching around for a Corot that I wanted to share, I was drawn to this image but initially thought that it had been cropped (beware as it is all too common when using the web for image searches). Turns out this is its original composition and that makes me happy. It's rare to find (at least I haven't seen many) landscapes with such verticality. The trees surely lend themselves to the scene, which allows the figures to draw your eye up and down the entire canvas (as well as the sky pulling you in almost dead center).

Corot is said to both be both the last of the classical landscape painters as well as hinting at the Impressionist movement to come. I can agree with both ideas, as Corot has surely not left the comfort zone of the traditional pretty landscape but the loosening of brush strokes and the soft, blending of form and color in the ground and leaves lead me to think of the impressionistic landscape.

A little interesting bonus. Looking for some biographical info on Corot, I came across a site I discovered awhile ago but forgot about. I find it fascinating. Art Renewal Center is the it's name and their goal (amongst others) is to "To repudiate the idea that development in art requires destruction of boundaries and standards, pointless emphasis on 'newness,' or pursuit of the bizarre and ugly as ends in themselves, and to expose as artistic fraud those works conceived only to elicit outrage." They are striving for a reestablishment of high performance of standards in the fine arts. Being a liberal heathen, I am not inclined to be in line with their politics of art, but they have put together a pretty great on-line museum. So if you are looking for "high standard" art, totally check them out.

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