COROT, Jean-Baptiste Camille
(b. 1796, Paris, d. 1875, Paris)

The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

Paper mounted on canvas, 30 x 49 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The pendants The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens and The Forum Seen from the Farnese Gardens were chosen by Corot himself to represent his work in the Louvre after his death. For him the trip to Rome had meant the discovery of the luminosity of Mediterranean sites, rather than the traces of ancient classical culture. The two views, painted outdoors in the Farnese Gardens on the Palatine Hill, are not so much "portraits" of the monuments, as investigations of the interplay of volumes and coloured planes, and the effects of the sun's rays on the façades, roofs and foliage. During his stay in Rome, Corot did a great number of technical experiments, hoping to render in paint what he was seeing.