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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 'The Leaning Tree Trunk', about 1860-5

Key facts
Full title The Leaning Tree Trunk
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made about 1860-5
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 49.7 × 60.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2625
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
The Leaning Tree Trunk
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

This idyllic view of elegant trees and a peaceful lake is one of a number of related scenes painted by Corot at this period. The lake is one of those at Ville-d'Avray near Paris, the location of Corot’s family home, and the trees are based on a drawing he had made at Civita Castellana during his first visit to Italy in 1825–8.

In this particular example, which was painted late in the series, Corot has reduced the single birch trunk at the right and the trunk reaching out across the picture to stylised, decorative elements. Both the man in his punt and the woman reaching up to gather twigs make frequent appearances in the artist’s work. The streaks of orange in the boat and in the woman’s cap create bright accents in the pervading silvery green tonality of the scene.

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