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

Souvenir of Mortefontaine

Oil on canvas, 65 x 89 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Corot spent his time between making studies from life all over France, and doing studio work that he intended to exhibit. In keeping with the tradition of history painting, in the studio he recomposed views from the open-air studies and animated them with figures sketched on his outings or during sittings. In the 1840s, Corot sought to transform the "impressions" captured during his outdoor work into full-fledged landscapes, which he steeped in a sentimental, poetic mood. In this way he invented the idea of "souvenir". Here his recollection of the English-style park of the Chateau de Mortefontaine in the Oise provided the inspiration foe a marvellous evocation of the universal theme of gathering.

The painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1864.