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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, The Marsh at Arleux

Key facts
Full title The Marsh at Arleux
Artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Artist dates 1796 - 1875
Date made 1871
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 27.9 × 57.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mrs Edwin Edwards, 1907
Inventory number NG2135
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Marsh at Arleux
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

This sketch was painted at Arleux-du-Nord, to the south of Douai in north-east France. Corot’s friend and fellow-artist Alfred Robaut, who lived in Douai, had persuaded him to leave Paris in April 1871 to escape the Commune following France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian war. Corot spent the spring and summer working in the area, which is notable for the marshes lying along the Scarpe and Sensée rivers. He was particularly inspired by the marshes along the Sensée at Arleux.

This sketch was probably painted rapidly in the open air and may be unfinished. The paint is thin, and the weave of the canvas shows throughout. In the foreground Corot used the handle end of his brush to scratch out forms in the paint, including horizontal and vertical lines and circular forms. While they are extremely cursory they possibly represent a boat, nets and fishing poles.

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