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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

Key facts
Full title Peasants under the Trees at Dawn
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made about 1840-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 27.3 × 38.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1977
Inventory number NG6439
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Peasants under the Trees at Dawn
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Under a spreading tree in the left foreground a man saws amidst a pile of logs while a woman reaches up into the tree itself. A stream (the Auxois) winds its way from behind the foreground boulder through the gully on the left-hand side to the hill beyond. The light is coming from the right background, and the houses and trees in the background dissolve in the radiance.

The setting is Lormes, the principal town in the area of the Morvan, western Burgundy, where many of its inhabitants earned their living by tree felling. The mill quarter of the town is depicted, and the tall building glimpsed on the left is one of two imposing houses which still stand today. Corot frequently visited this region, and during three stays in 1841, 1842 and 1844 he painted around 15 pictures, many distinguished by the originality of their composition.

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