Corot acknowledges male gaze in painting

Corot Diana and Actaeon

“Diana and Actaeon” by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1836. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Corot (1796-1875) was and is much better known for moody landscapes, within which dabs of white paint flicker like candlelight from amid deep green trees and undergrowth. Once one gets to know the artist’s oeuvre, his works become easy to spot from across a room, and there is a pretty good chance of seeing a Corot canvas in most major or mid-sized museums in the country. When one considers Corot’s lesser-known body of figures, as the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition “Corot: Women” (through Dec. 31) does, one finds the artist flirting with a modern and self-conscious way of acknowledging the male gaze all but inherent in model painting, even as Corot remained of his time and still clung to some of the traditional and stylized ways of painting the female nude.

Read the rest of my article “Corot acknowledges male gaze in painting,” about a National Gallery of Art exhibit, in National Catholic Reporter.

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