French artist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot’s 1869 painting, “Woman Reading in a Landscape,” depicts an idyllic scene with a woman absorbed in her book while a man rows his boat in the distance. Despite its peaceful mood, the painting received criticism for faulty drawing of the woman. It is part of Corot’s rare figure paintings as he was primarily known for his landscapes but chose to depict figures late in his career, which he rarely exhibited.
Corot produced over 3,000 works during his lifetime and was considered a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work referenced both Neo-Classical tradition and Impressionism. “Woman Reading in a Landscape” was featured at the National Gallery of Art exhibition “Corot: Women” in 2018.
Born into an affluent family – cloth merchant and milliner – Corot developed an interest in art early on and studied under several prominent painters before establishing himself as an independent artist. His use of soft colors to create atmospheric effects through nuanced brushstrokes marked him as one of the leading artists that influenced Impressionism later on.