“There is only one master: Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing”
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is one of the great landscape painters of the nineteenth century and, along with Jean-François Millet, the most prominent member of the Barbizon School. This school drew inspiration directly from nature, with influences of John Constable, whose work was exhibited in Paris in 1824.
In his early works, Corot showed a clearly Realist style, but throughout his career his style evolved into a more poetic one. "Souvenir de Mortefontaine (Recollection of Mortefontaine)" is widely considered the great masterpiece of his late period. The painting, exhibited at the Louvre since 1889, was very admired by the Impressionists.
As the title indicates, the painting does not depict a specific landscape, but is the result of the idealized memories that the artist kept of the town of Mortefontaine (northern France), a place Corot frequently visited in the 1850s. A few years later, Corot painted a similar work, "The Boatman of Mortefontaine".
"Souvenir de Mortefontaine" was well received among the critics, and the proof is that the work was acquired by the French state the same year of its creation.
G. Fernández - theartwolf.com