Many American painters in the nineteenth century painted nature as a classical world of dryads, nymphs, and other imaginary creatures. Albert Pinkham Ryder was inspired by a painting by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot that shows dancing figures in an atmospheric, intimate landscape. In Dancing Dryads, Ryder added many layers of paint and glaze to create a thick, enamel-like surface that emphasized the glowing colors and dreamlike scene. Over time, however, the colors faded and an early restorer actually added the outlines around the figures to prevent them from disappearing into the background.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.