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Work The Bridge at Narni

Department of Paintings: French painting

The Bridge at Narni, near Rome (Italy)

© 1995 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

French painting

Pomarède Vincent

Painted near Rome, this picture is marked by an impressive freedom of brushwork and organization. At the 1827 Salon Corot showed a view of the same site - now in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa - which is very much in the noble tradition of the Neoclassical landscape.

A first impression

Here we see the original sketch in oils, intended not to be shown but rather to retain the "first impression" to which, Corot said, "you have to remain faithful." Painted during his first trip to Italy in 1826, this open-air study was used by the artist as the basis for a large landscape shown in the 1827 Salon in Paris and now in the National Gallery in Ottawa. Narni is a large town in the countryside north of Rome. "If they are to please, landscapes - views of the countryside - must be colorful and perfectly executed": such was one of the precepts Corot observed in setting out to capture a view already made known by Valenciennes and Michallon.

The studio painting

On his return to his studio, Corot painted the version intended for the public, bringing a more academic approach to bear on his initial vision: the steep slope in the foreground becomes a handsome terrace on which, as tradition required, shepherds watch their flocks. Nearby are two umbrella pines - proof that we are in the Roman countryside.

Technical description

  • Jean-Baptiste Camille COROT (Paris, 1796 - Paris, 1875)

    The Bridge at Narni, near Rome (Italy)


  • Oil on paper mounted on canvas

    H. : 0,34 m. ; L. : 0,48 m.

  • 1906

    R.F. 1613

  • Paintings

    Sully wing
    2nd floor
    Moreau-Nélaton Collection
    Room 949

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