The Colosseum from the Farnese Gardens in the Corot Palace

The Colosseum from the Farnese Gardens in the Corot Palace
The Colosseum from the Farnese Gardens in the Corot Palace

Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) made this painting in 1826, in fact it is signed by him with the date of March 1826. And he did it from life, in Roma, painted directly on paper, although that paper was later pasted onto a cloth. And so it is currently preserved in theLouvre Museum in Paris, where it arrived after being bequeathed by the author himself shortly before his death.


The Colosseum from the Farnese Gardens in the Corot Palatine

The artistic quality of Camille Corot is unquestionable. It is seen in this work and in many others as his view of the Bridge of Nantes. However, this painter never attended academic studies of an official nature. It is true that he was a student of some neoclassical painters, especially specialized in landscape paintings. But he thought that all of his training should be enlarged by traveling toItaly, a country in which he made numerous works with views of that country and especially its capital

One example is this painting he painted from the top of the RomanPalatine Hill. A location from which he made three different studies. One focused on the Farnese Gardens, another on the great Roman Forum and a third on the Flavian Amphitheater or Colosseum, which is what we are going to talk about next.

The truth is that of the three, his favorite was the first two, and for him they were the mostsignificant and evocative that he had painted throughout his journey through Italian lands. From the beginning he earmarked them to be donated to theLouvre. However, the third was exhibited almost 20 years later at a Paris Salon, although he ended up keeping it and also being part of his donation to the great French museum.

And today it is seen as a good example of what he assumed forCorothis trip to Italy. A place that served him to enjoy another light. In fact, he was not so fascinated by seeing the traces of ancient culture, as that brilliant Mediterranean light. For this reason, in works such as this natural one, he did not approach them with an archaeological or historicist criterion. They were prints and compositions in which he dedicated himself to investigating how the planes of color and the volumes of the things he represented interacted. He could devote as much attention to the effects of light on the leaves of the trees as to a monument of the category of the Arch of Titus that is discovered next to theColosseum. And it is that his only goal was to represent in a painting, on a two-dimensional surface, what he was seeing and just as he was seeing it. Hence, his painting was a continuous investigation and therefore in a certain way he is a realist painter, but he also has something unclassifiable and can even be valued as a predecessor of what they will later look for the artists of French Impressionism.

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