Woman with a Pearl by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Woman with a Pearl, originally known as La Femme a la Perle, was one of the most important works of French landscape painter and printmaker in etching Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. As the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century, Corot witnessed the vicissitude of classicism, romanticism and realism of the art history and the rise of impressionism, which explains the blend color and artistic style of all times in his works.

Woman with a Pearl is one of the human figures that Corot painted in the third part of his career. The figures in his portraits are serene and luminous. Many have speculated on the inspirational source for The Woman with a Pearl and opine that it may have been inspired by the works of Leonardo Di Vinci’s Mona Lisa, cause it’s noticed that the positioning of hands, facial expression, hair style of the sitter, Berthe Goldschmidt, posing in an Italian dress that Corot had brought back with him, is almost a pastiche of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Corot emphasized the harmonious unity of the sitter with the environment. Some people are confused with the title which indicates that the woman in the painting is wearing a pearl, when in fact it is a small leaf that hangs on her forehead. Though the pearl is just a kind of illusion but it is a reflection of the painter’s judgment on truthfulness. The facial expression of women in the painting of Corot seems to have something in common – gaze, contemplation and the lack of smile, which suggests that the painter is trying to create an effect that pleases people.

In regards to the artist’s technical freedom and clear color, poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) described the artist’s work as a "miracle of the heart and the mind".

The Woman with a Pearl

The Woman with a Pearl

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