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The Cover
June 14, 2000

Wounded Eurydice

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(22):2899. doi:10.1001/jama.283.22.2899

He was too seldom tormented by devils, said Baudelaire of landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) in a review of the Paris Salon of 1859. Rather than being an artist of "glaring brilliance," Corot was one of "infallible harmony," one with an eye that was "keen and judicious," and "more concerned with what establishes harmony than with what emphasizes contrast"; he enchanted—albeit slowly—rather than dazzled. To the criticism from those who said Corot's color was "too soft," and his light "crepuscular," Baudelaire responded that it was the exhibition walls of the Salon itself that were at fault: "Even the most luminous Veroneses would often appear pale and grey if they were surrounded by certain modern paintings which are more garish than peasant's scarves." Moreover, he concluded, Corot is "the only one who always knows where to place the bones and what dimensions to give them." Corot was, in short, a painter's painter, one whose genius could not be appreciated in an instant, but only after long acquaintance with the ways of painting. He was, as Baudelaire said in his review of an earlier Salon, one who painted with "heart and soul," who knew how to look at nature "with as much knowledge as love."