Val d’Arno: Evening by Matthew Ridley Corbet ARA, 1850-1902 ARSA. Oil on canvas. Exhibited 1901. Support: 908 × 2089 mm; frame: 1243 × 2436 × 185 mm. Collection: Tate. Reference: NO1899. Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1901. Image kindly released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

This is a good (perhaps the best) example of Corbet's landscapes in the "Etruscan" style imbibed from Giovanni Costa, not only because of the wide panorama, emphasized by the long horizontal line of the wall, and the evocation of the quiet glow of sunset, but because of the classical elements in the landscape — the statues at intervals along the wall, the way the wall rises, elegantly carved, at the right; and the dark gown that envelops the solitary watching figure, marking him out as no ordinary Florentian. It is a specific time of day, and probably year, as there are a few blossoms on the wintry tree, but the serenity of the moment is somehow timeless. It is easy to feel drawn into this landscape and feel at peace in it. The painting suggests a true harmony of man and nature which is irresistible.

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Created 28 August 2022