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

The Reader Wreathed with Flowers (Virgil's Muse)

Oil on canvas, 47 x 34 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Besides landscapes, Corot worked in the studio on studies from life. The male friends or young girls who modelled for him varied their poses during the sittings, as Corot made numerous sketches, and then selected an attitude or expression that he could use later in a full composition, thereby blending realism with feeling and allegory. Thus transfigured, his models become archetypes, allegorical figures, and deities. In this painting the model has been transformed into a barefoot Muse deeply absorbed in a book, her head wreathed in flowers.