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Camille Corot is best known as the great master of landscape painting in the 19th century who bridged the French neoclassical tradition with the impressionist movement of the 1870s. His figure paintings constitute a much smaller, less well-known portion of his oeuvre, but arguably are of equal importance to the history of art, in particular for the founders of modernist painting such as Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. Dressed in rustic Italian costume or stretched nude on a grassy plain, Corots women read, dream, and gaze, conveying a mysterious sense of inner life. His sophisticated use of color and his deft, delicate touch applied to the female form resulted in pictures of quiet majesty.
The exhibition is curated by Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art.