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This is one of the most haunting half-length, life-size, figural studies that Corot painted. The young woman wears a Greek 'kavadi' and embroidered waistcoat over her black street clothes. She is posed against the painted dado of Corot's studio. He has taken great care to capture her facial characteristics – particularly her dark, deep-set eyes and her demure gaze.
The tinge of melancholy in her distant expression, the chain of wild flowers enlivening her dark hair, even her pose and costume are reminiscent of works by Leonardo, and it has been suggested that Corot, who loved to visit the works of the Old Masters in the Louvre, was deliberately testing his own skills against those of Leonardo and Rembrandt.
oil on canvas
H 89 x W 59.7 cm
presented by the Trustees of the estate of D. W. T. Cargill, 1950