Corot’s La Ronde Gauloise

A sketch-like print by the nineteenth-century French artist, Camille Corot, looks like a landscape but, as in the work of so many poetic artists, it is not. Take a look. 

Before I show you how, see if you can find a face in this landscape. 

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Captions for image(s) above:

Corot, La Ronde Gauloise (1857)

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Now compare the print to the artist and you will see the ghost-like echo of his own self-portrait in the trees. The comparison shows (from l. to r.) a detail of the print, a detail from an early self-portrait and a diagram showing how key features of his self-portrait appear in the the trees.

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Captions for image(s) above:

A comparison of La Ronde Gauloise to a self-portrait from the 1830's with a diagram at right.

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However unlikely this seems to conventional scholars it is very common. Similar faces and self-portraits appear in landscapes by numerous visual poets including the earliest landscape that appears to be copied from nature, a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. Some artists, like Courbet, have so obviously fashioned landscapes out of faces that they are included in the title, as in his Landscape with Anthropomorphic Rocks.

See conclusion below.

Captions for image(s) above:

Courbet, Landscape with Anthropomorphic Rocks

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Remember, true artists are philosophers and mystics who use art as a medium to express their thoughts. They may copy nature as a student in order to perfect their craft but not as a full-fledged artist. By then, their landscapes are mindscapes.

More Works by Corot

Notes:

Original Publication Date on EPPH: 11 May 2010. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.