Here, Corot situates the viewer at the base of a steep ridge looking up the rocky hillside, painted deep brown at the base and pale tan at the crest, indicating the characteristic sandy soil of Fontainebleau. Clumps of deep green trees and shrubs punctuate the composition’s middle ground, leading our eyes toward the vivid blue sky and white clouds at the horizon. This interesting and radical composition became part of Corot’s repertoire in his outdoor studies and paintings, as did the device of viewing a hillside from a slightly lowered angle and making it the center of his composition. He would go on to paint sights in Italy with the same perspective. It is perhaps most beautifully used in The Metropolitan Museum’s wonderful study Fontainebleau: Oak Trees at Bas- Bréau of 1832 , and the 1833 work for which it is preparatory Hagar in the Wilderness .

Corot, Fontainebleau: Oak Trees at Bas-Bréau , 1832 or 1833 , oil on paper, laid down on wood, 15 5 ⁄ 8 x 19½ inches, The Metropolitan Museum of art, Accession Number: 1979 . 404

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