The Dreamer (Le Songeur)
Jean–Baptiste–Camille Corot ( French, 1796 - 1875 )
In this enigmatic scene, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot uses energetic lines to describe a variety of forms and textures, particularly in the two trees in the foreground. Yet the surface of the print itself has the smoothness of a photograph, a hallmark of cliché-verre printmaking, which uses photographic technology to create etching–like images. Invented in the 19th century, cliché-verre was popular among Barbizon artists such as Corot, since its ease and convenience made it an ideal medium for working outdoors.
Corot, who worked alongside early landscape photographers, was persuaded to apply recently discovered photographic techniques to printmaking. He made sixty-six cliché-verres or "glass plates." These works are relatively rare since only a few prints could be made from each plate.
Sara Woodbury, DMA Exhibition label copy, Cross-Cultural Dialogues in European and American Landscapes, April 2011.
DMA Label copy.