View of Florence from the Boboli Gardens, 1834
Corot was awarded his first medal at the Salon in 1833. The second-class medal was given for his work Ford in the Forest of Fontainebleau. Its present whereabouts are unknown. Upon receiving this award, Corot decided to take a second journey to Italy. He traveled with the painter Grandjean and stayed from May to October 1834, producing two distinct works. View of the Grand Canal and Santa Maria della Salute and View of Florence from the Boboli Gardens showcased both his independence and his nonconformist point of view that almost foresees twentieth-century painting.
During this time in Italy, Corot also painted his second self-portrait, showing that his command of the human figure was now mastered. It is one of the prized possessions of the Uffizi in Florence.
A comparison of this portrait to the one done earlier in 1825 gives us a vivid picture of the great distance he had traveled to consciously possess his full artistic power.
Always traveling, Corot spent time in his home at Ville d’Avray as well as at distant locations like La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast or to visit his friends, at the Bovy chateau in Switzerland. In the summer of 1840 he traveled to the Morvan. Between 1835 and 1865, as a guest, Corot executed decorative wall murals at many of his friends’ homes such as at the Daubigny’s house in Auvers-sur-Oise, the Bovys’ chateau, the house of the magistrate, Louis Robert at Mantes, and in the kiosk in the garden at his family home in Ville-d’Avray.
The exquisite View of Mantes and the Recollection of Mortefontaine were both inspired, along with hundreds of other paintings, by the serene rural surroundings, throughout which Camille traveled to the end of his life. Recollection of Mortefontaine was an outstanding success when exhibited in the Salon of 1864. The French government purchased it to hang in the palace of Fontainebleau, and then later moved it to The Louvre collection in 1889.
View of Mantes, 1868-1869