The Impressionists were indebted to a longer tradition of sketching and painting outdoors. Corot to Monet will chart the development of open-air landscape painting up to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.
Drawing on the National Gallery
s rich collection of 19th-century French landscapes, the exhibition will feature all the major artists of this genre.
Corot to Monet will open with scenes by Jean-Bapiste-Camille Corot, Simon Denis and Pierre Henri Valenciennes. They were among artists who gathered in Rome in the 18th and 19th centuries, setting out to paint picturesque locations in the Campagna outside the city.
A major part of the exhibition will then focus on the work of the Barbizon School. Corot to Monet will demonstrate how painters such as Théodore Rousseau, Jean François Millet and Narcisse-Virgilio Diaz de la Peña captured their native scenery to great effect.
The exhibition will trace the tangible influence these works had on the Impressionists as they began exploring new techniques. Monets The Beach at Trouville and other early works will be displayed alongside the beach scenes of Eugène Boudin and late works by Corot.