Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Dune at Dunkirk (1873)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: A Dune at Dunkirk

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot traveled to Dunkirk at the end of July 1873 to paint with his friend, Charles-François Daubigny. It was Corot's second visit to the area, having been there sixteen years prior in September 1857. Situated in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region of France, near the border with Belgium, Dunkirk, with its old port, structural ramparts, and surrounding dunes, provided Corot with ample motifs for his painting. Of the six paintings of Dunkirk recorded in Alfred Robaut's Corot catalogue raisonné, the present painting is the largest and the only one in which reference to the town is completely abandoned. The absence of architectural elements allowed Corot to focus solely on the effects of light as it played across the stark dune landscape. Working en plein air, he rendered this topography in a harmony of beiges and greens which he punctuated with the presence of human figures to provide accents of color. [Christie’s]

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