The bridge at narni
- Artist: Jean Baptiste Camille Corot
- Categories: Landscape painting, Mountain painting, Barbizon School, Realism, Romanticism,
- Product Code: jean baptiste camille corot 233
The Bridge at Narni
Oil painting on paper glued onto canvas; Size: 34x48cm Louvre, Paris.
The picture represents the Ponte d'Augusto on the Nera River at Narni, near Terri, and was painted by Corot during his visit to Italy in 1826. The artist presented another version of the same subject at the Salon of 1827, the first landscape that he showed in public (now in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa). A comparison of the two pictures helps us to understand the contribution made by the artist to the history of the landscape. The work intended for exhibition presents the characteristics of the classical landscape: a wing of trees is set on the left, the road describes an elegant curve as it approaches the foreground, several figures are present and everything is perfectly finished, although in Corot's typical style of painting. The picture in the Louvre, on the other hand, is a study from life that concedes nothing to classical canons. The brushwork is rapid, with broad strokes, and focuses on the relations of color and light between the constituent elements of the view. The light is the low, slanting rays of the morning, entering from the right of the painting: the time of day appears to have been important for the artist, allowing him to capture the play of shadows that accentuates the reliefs of the landscape. Here Corot, as in his other "Italian" works, practiced a highly personal style, with an extreme simplification of form that showed the way for the development of French painting over the following decades. Not without reason, The Ponte d'Augusto at Narni has been defined as a "pre-Impressionist" picture, and the description seems to apply, even more than to the technique adopted, to the very conception of the landscape painting and its function.
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