A woman wearing a long dark dress and yellow straw hat stands next to a cow on a path which draws the viewer into the landscape. Long shadows are cast by the bushes and tree on the left. In the background the lavender blue hills of the Jura descend from left to right. The view is near Dardagny, a village in Switzerland west of Geneva.
Corot visited Switzerland more than any other country in Europe. In 1852 he was there in the company of the painters Armand Leleux and Charles-François Daubigny. When he returned the following year he stayed during July and August with Leleux’s parents-in-law in Dardagny. This view, with its fields full of ripe corn, was almost certainly painted then. Corot would have started the painting in the open air, perhaps adding such details as the figure and the cow back in the studio.
A woman wearing a long dark dress and yellow straw hat, holding a long stick, stands next to a cow on a path which draws the viewer into the landscape. Long shadows are cast by the bushes and tree on the left. There is an even, harmonious tonality throughout, from the soft grey-greens of the foliage, to the lavender blue of the hills and the pale blue of the sky. The view is near Dardagny, a village in Switzerland west of Geneva, and in the background it is the hills of the Jura which descend from left to right.
Perhaps influenced by his Swiss maternal grandfather, Corot visited Switzerland more than any other country in Europe. In 1825, on his way to Italy, he stayed in Lausanne. In 1852 he visited the country in the company of the painters Armand Leleux (1818–1885) and Charles Daubigny. When he returned the following year he was invited to stay with Leleux’s parents-in-law in Dardagny, and it was during this visit that he almost certainly painted this view. He was there during July and August, when he would have seen the fields full of ripe corn which are depicted on either side of the path.
The brushwork is fluid, the paint thin, and in many places the weave of the canvas shows through. Corot would have started this view in the open air, perhaps adding such details as the figure and the cow back in the studio. The figure of the woman also appears in a wash ink drawing Corot made in a sketchbook, which he could have referred to when placing her in the painting itself. Corot had a number of friends in Switzerland, including Charles Turrettini and his sister, Suzanne Turrettini-Necker, who was a pupil of Barthélemy Menn (1815–1893) and Alexandre Calame. Corot had a habit of lending his sketches to her, including this one, of which she made her own copy.
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