Corot's first visit to Italy between 1825 and 1828 inspired his earliest masterpieces, among them this picture, which depicts Lake Piediluco in Umbria.

Nestled amidst the Sabine Mountains and painted in an early morning light, the lake acquires a pellucid clarity and transfixing stillness. Adding to this is the subtlety of tone and colour. The pearly colouring and immaculate purity that characterize this landscape call to mind the sublime harmonies of Vermeer. The picture formed part of a magnificent gift through the Art Fund by a member of its Executive Committee, Sir Michael Sadler, in memory of his wife.

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