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Reading Beneath the Trees (La Lecture sous les Arbres)

Accession Number

Reading Beneath the Trees (La Lecture sous les Arbres)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
lithograph on manila "bulle" paper

10 7/16 in. x 7 1/4 in. ( 26.5 cm x 18.4 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
France, 1796–1875
Reading Beneath the Trees (La Lecture sous les arbres)
Museum purchase 1962/2.19
Environs de Rome
Museum purchase, 1930.7
Corot was a pivotal figure in French landscape painting and is often cited in relation to the rise of Impressionism. His work melded two dominant traditions: the highly constructed landscape that derived from study in Italy, and the emerging emphasis on plein-air (outdoors) technique that captured the immediacy of the scene. However, even in his oil sketches Corot’s painting evidenced a firm structure and his landscapes often conveyed his elegiac personal responses to the scene.
The two prints on view here show Corot’s rich graphic work in two print media, etching and lithography. His etching depicting the area around Rome relies less on direct observation and more on sentiment and subjectivity. In these Arcadian images, the figures reflect the mood of the landscape; his lithograph of a woman reading under a stand of trees exhibits just this mood of poetic reverie.

Subject matter
A landscape sketch with of a hill with a line of trees in the foreground and a woman standing within them, reading.

Physical Description
A sketch of a hillside in the background, seen through the trees. The trees heights are low on the left, leaving the left corner of the image open, and extending taller towards the top of the page as they move right. Between the far right tree and the second to the right is a woman, about 1/5 the size of the tree she stands against. About halfway up the trunk, between the same two trees is a square structure with one darkened window in the middle and a dark scribble to the right of it.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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figures (illustrations)
landscapes (environments)
landscapes (representations)

2 Related Resources

Landscape and Nature, Comparative and Historical
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Literacy, Reading, and Writing
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted