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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, A Flood

Key facts
Full title A Flood
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made probably 1870-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54 × 65.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2629
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Flood
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

A river runs from the left edge of this painting to the bottom right corner. A bank rises gently towards the right. A lone figure dressed in a red shawl and bright yellow hat stands motionless under the leaning tree. In the centre a group of houses with steep gabled roofs stands amid a further group of trees. These buildings often appear in Corot’s late landscapes painted in the studio, many of which were based on real places.

The pervading silvery grey tonality is particularly striking, the restrained use of colour and the numerous reflections in the river making it hard to decipher the line between water and land. As was his custom, Corot painted the sky last, bringing it down over the roofs of the houses, in one case obscuring the roof entirely. He also added tree trunks at a late stage, such as the silver birch hovering to the right of the principal tree.

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