Before Corot executed the “Summer Landscape” he used the canvas for a different pictorial idea. The rejected composition is to be found beneath the paint layer forming the present depiction. A work in vertical format, it is invisible to the naked eye, and discernible only with the aid of infrared reflectography.
Infrared reflectography is an examination method allowing a view of underlying layers. It is usually capable of bringing to light charcoal or pencil drawings covered by the paint layer, and it supplies information about a work’s genesis. In this case, the infrared reflectogram clearly shows a linear structure unrelated to the landscape depiction.
If we retrace the lines visible in the infrared reflectogram and turn the image by ninety degrees, we discover a room constructed with vanishing lines. In the left-hand half there is a figure sitting at a table. A door is alluded to in the background, and opposite the figure, on the right, is a passageway with a pointed arch. Corot rejected this composition and painted the summer landscape over it.
Gain further insights into the technological examination and conservation of selected works.
Edgar Degas: “The Orchestra Musicians” (1872)
Gustave Courbet: “The Wave” (1869)
Claude Monet: “Houses on the bank of the river Zaan” (1871)
Félix Ziem: “Dutch River Landscape with Windmills” (1850–1853)
Auguste Renoir: “After the Luncheon” (1879)
Claude Monet: “The Luncheon” (1868/69)