Monday, May 15, 2006

Memory of Marcoussis

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Souvenir of Coubron, 1872

Like Howard Hodgkin, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot was an artist who, at least in his later work, painted memories of landscapes rather than views. This is suggested in titles like Memory [Souvenir] of Coubron (above) and many others: Souvenir de Mortefontaine, de Sologne, de Toscane, du lac d'Albano, de Castelgandolfo...   Michael Clarke (Corot and the Art of Landscape) calls such painting an art of ‘reflection and reminiscence’ and compares it to the poetry of Lamartine and de Musset, who also used the term ‘Souvenir’ in their titles. Indeed ‘Corot’s The Shepherd Star of 1864 was possibly inspired by lines by de Musset, of whom the artist recalled "Ah! Musset what a poet… He also has greatly suffered. He took notice of me in the past when none recognized me. I owe him a debt of gratitude."’

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