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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Italian Woman

Key facts
Full title Italian Woman, or Woman with Yellow Sleeve (L'Italienne)
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made about 1870
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 73 × 59 cm
Acquisition credit Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government from the estate of Lucian Freud and allocated to the National Gallery, 2012
Inventory number NG6620
Location Room 45
Collection Main Collection
Italian Woman
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

A supremely poised young woman is painted in three-quarter view. Her right hand curls around the handle of a mirror, while she appears to be caressing a lock of hair with her left. She wears a white blouse under a black velvet bodice and yellow detachable sleeves over her arms. This study is one of a number that Corot painted during the last years of his life. According to an early biographer, Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, he would take a week out from painting landscapes to paint models in the studio.

Corot had a particular interest in Italian costume, and kept clothes in his studio with which to dress his models. Both the bodice, actually part of a dress, and the sleeves also appear in other paintings. He was not interested in authenticity, but took delight in mixing up the pieces to create a pleasing juxtaposition of colours and textures.

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