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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Monsieur Pivot on Horseback

Key facts
Full title Monsieur Pivot on Horseback
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made about 1853
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 39.2 × 30.3 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1923
Inventory number NG3816
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Monsieur Pivot on Horseback
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

In this small, intimate portrait, the rider, turning to look at the viewer, seems to have been caught unawares. He is Monsieur Joseph Pivot, who was about 50 at the time and a neighbour of Corot in Ville-d’Avray. He frequently rode his horse in a nearby wood where Corot also went to paint, and one day, seeing him ride by, Corot asked him to stop so that he could make a quick sketch of him.

Remarkably, technical analysis of this painting has indeed shown that the image of the man on his horse has been painted on top of an existing landscape. The pale blue paint of the original sky is visible under the thin dark green paint at the top left of the picture. The first landscape was wider in format. Once back in the studio Corot cut down the canvas and finished off the woodland setting, adding the slender curved trunks of the silver birches over the dark green paint.

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