The pond which takes up the foreground probably lies in the grounds of the tall building glimpsed at the extreme right, perhaps a mill or château. Beyond an open gate lies an unseen road or lane bordered by a hedge, and further in the distance stands a higher bank of trees. At the left, the woman herding the cow trails her stick along the path.
The scene is bathed in a soft, hazy light, the greens of the bushes and trees muted and silvery. The handling and low-keyed tonality are typical of Corot’s style from the 1850s onwards, when bright colour and crisp outlines were replaced by shimmering brushwork and pearly colouration.
This unidentified scene is an early example of Corot’s mature work, when his colour became more restrained. A pond, its edges curving towards the bottom left and right corners, takes up the foreground. It probably lies in the grounds of the tall building glimpsed at the extreme right, perhaps a mill or château. A path leads from an open gate across the middle ground, along which a woman herds her cow, trailing her stick behind her. Beyond the gate lies an unseen road or lane bordered by a hedge, with trees beyond, and further in the distance stands a higher bank of trees. The scene is bathed in soft light, the tonality of the vegetation muted and silvery.
At this period Corot employed a wide variety of brushwork, seen here in the small touches of paint in the tree at the left and the long, fluid strokes of paint in the foreground. Also typical for the artist is the handling of the sky, which he generally painted at a late stage of a composition, bringing it down, as here, over the tops of the trees on the horizon. The woman and her cow are insubstantially painted, with the pale brown of the path passing over the front legs of the animal. Corot has used the handle end of his brush to scratch out the bars in the gate, a technique which he used regularly, and which can be also seen in the foreground of The Marsh at Arleux.
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