Camille Corot’s, Souvenir of Mortefontaine (c.1864): A Self-Belief in Things as the Highest Expression in Art

Landsacape Reflecting the Self-Belief in Things: The Nature of Brahman

“But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught”. – Isha Upanishad (Translation by Sri Aurobindo)

Critics have often said that in Corot’s impressionist landscapes there is a pattern and a formula. If you compare the sketch of the trees in this painting with the 1850 work, Morning, the Dance of the Nymphs, you will be probably taken up to believe as the critics did. Whether Corot was the precursor of impressionism or a neoclassical landscape painter, is also of very low importance, because the Optical Serenity his paintings generate are far more clearer expressions of the Self than anything else and fundamentally that’s what matters in high-art. Coming back to the seminal landscapes, these are the perfect self-expressions and like a mirror pictured, to quote John Keats’ words, the “still unravished bride” of inner quietness. Nature, here, in the highest of forms is a pure replica of the Self or the Brahman. What Corot has done as an artist is the calm rebellious surrender of the vital mind and the body to the inner- psychic being and this only to affirm his self-belief in things of nature as cosmic entities and his self-expression in art as forms to communicate with the Power and Light that lies within and beyond.

– Joy Roy Choudhury, Art-Lover, Critic, Consultant & Writer.