This work was painted by the French artist Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, better known only as Corot. The painting was made between 1868 and 1870, and is currently exhibited in the halls of the Louvre museum in Paris, Corot's hometown, and very close to where the artist himself was born in 1796, whose we althy family owned a house near the Louvre Palace.
Nantes Bridge by Corot
The work is part of a series in which the bridge of the city of Nantes was the main protagonist, but always painted at different times of the day, to have the opportunity to capture various reflections in the landscape and different points of view and frames. In fact, this type of series was common in Corot's pictorial production, so that the same motif served him to experiment in his painting and always discover different views. It is not that Corot invented this method, but what is certain is that with his experiences he anticipated the painters of the immediately subsequent generation: the Impressionists.
However, the spirit of his painting is somewhat distant from the work of Monet or Renoir, since Corot it is characterized by an almost mystical capture of nature, something very typical of the romantic movement. In that sense, he is much more like a contemporary of his, the realist painterMillet,from which he also assimilates the use and predominance of warm lights for his works.
What Corot is most interested in is capturing the light of each landscape, a light that, in addition to illuminating, serves to define colors. And for this he completely renounces drawing. His method of painting was to apply extensive stains of color, stains that he gradually combines until he creates the structure of the landscape. With this he intends to capture the essence of the place, hence that symbolic and mystical tone in his works. What distances him from the later impressionist painting, as well as distances him from Impressionism, is that Corot never manages to break the forms of the painted elements, even without drawing them, something that the later painters.
Corot was quite an investigator of painting, he followed his own investigation of the pictorial fact. Therefore, although he has similarities with the landscape painters of theBarbizon Schoolrepresented by Theòdore Rousseau, he does not consider painting a landscape as an emotional shock. He seeks to absorb himself and communicate his own inner world with the outer reality represented by nature. He wants to understand that landscape from an emotional and deep point of view.
He does not consider that the views he portrays, here in Nantes, in many other places in France and also in Italy, are just a kind of visual spectacle to be admired, but rather he intends to have the experience of living them and feel them, and for him the best way to do it is to paint them, and enjoy them, painting them over and over againtime, creating series of the same place, like this Nantes bridge, to which he dedicated not one, but two series of works.