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Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796–1875)
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot was a French landscape painter. He was a regular contributor to the Salon during his lifetime, and in 1846 was decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honour. Of the painters classed in the Barbizon school Corot will live the longest, and will continue to occupy the highest position.
Pond in the Forest
Italian Landscape
Lake and Boatman
Alexina Legoux
Campagne de Rome
Danses virgiliennes


Pond in the Forest
L’étang dans la forêt
Oil on canvas
24 x 20 1/16 inches
(61 x 51 cm)
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot studied with two classical landscape painters: in 1822 with Achille-Etna Michallon and later with Jean-Victor Bertin. On Bertin’s advice Corot went to Italy, where for he worked en plein air for three years, 1825–1828, creating his first famous landscapes.

Corot made two more trips to Italy, in 1834 and 1843, and traveled around Europe, going to Switzerland in 1834, 1842, and late 1850, The Netherlands in 1854, and England in 1862. He began exhibiting at the Salon in 1827 and continued to do so regularly until his death. In the 1830s and 1840s he spent the summer months in the small village of Barbizon near Paris and worked in the forests of Fontainebleau.

Here Corot befriended the artists of the Barbizon school, especially Théodore Rousseau. In the mid-1840s critics began regarding Corot and Rousseau as the leaders of French landscape painting. The six landscapes Corot exhibited in 1855 at the world’s fair in Paris were an enormous success. In the last 20 years of his life Corot preferred working at his family’s property in Ville d’Avray, north of Paris.

Many artists, who later became known as the Impressionists, came to Corot for advice during these years, particularly Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot. However, Corot did not participate and did not allow his students to take part in the first exhibit of the Impressionists in 1874. Nevertheless, the Impressionist revered Corot and justly saw him as one the greatest landscape painters of the 19th century.
Comments about Corot

Date:Monday November 7, 2005 12:08:35 am MST
Subject:Barbizon school
Message:Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (July 26, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was a French landscape painter.
Camille Corot was born in Paris, in a house on the Quai by the rue du Bac, now demolished. His family were well-to-do bourgeois people, and whatever may have been the experience of some of his artistic colleagues, he never, throughout his life, felt the want of money. He was educated at Rouen and was afterwards apprenticed to a draper, but hated commercial life and despised what he called its "business tricks," yet he faithfully remained in it until he was twenty-six, when his father at last consented to his adopting the profession of art.

Corot learned little from his masters. He visited Italy on three occasions: two of his Roman studies are now in the Louvre. He was a regular contributor to the Salon during his lifetime, and in 1846 was decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honour. He was promoted to be officer in 1867. His many friends considered nevertheless that he was officially neglected, and in 1874, only a short time before his death, they presented him with a gold medal. He died in Paris and was buried at Père Lachaise.

Of the painters classed in the Barbizon school it is probable that Corot will live the longest, and will continue to occupy the highest position. His art is more individual than Rousseau's, whose works are more strictly traditional; more poetic than that of Daubigny, who is, however, Corot's greatest contemporary rival; and in every sense more beautiful than J-F Millet, who thought more of stern truth than of aesthetic feeling.

Corot's works are somewhat arbitrarily divided into periods, but the point of division is never certain, as he often completed a picture years after it had been begun. In his first style he painted traditionally and "tight"--that is to say, with minute exactness, clear outlines, and with absolute definition of objects throughout. After his fiftieth year his methods changed to breadth of tone and an approach to poetic power, and about twenty years later, say from 1865 onwards, his manner of painting became full of mystery and poetry. In the last ten years of his work he became the Père Corot of the artistic circles of Paris, in which he was regarded with personal affection, and he was acknowledged as one of the five or six greatest landscape painters the world has ever seen, along with Hobbema, Claude, Turner and Constable.

During the last few years of his life he earned large sums by his pictures, which became greatly sought after. In 1871 he gave £2000 for the poor of Paris (where he remained during the siege), and his continued charity was long the subject of remark. Besides landscapes, of which he painted several hundred, Corot produced a number of figure pictures which are much prized. These were mostly studio pieces, executed probably with a view to keep his hand in with severe drawing, rather than with the intention of producing pictures. Yet many of them are fine in composition, and in all cases the colour is remarkable for its strength and purity. Corot also executed a few etchings and pencil sketches.

In his landscape pictures Corot was more traditional in his method of work than is usually believed. If even his latest tree-painting and arrangement are compared with such a Claude as that which hangs in the Bridgewater gallery, it will be observed how similar is Corot's method and also how masterly are his results.

The works of Corot are scattered over France and the Netherlands, Britain and America. The following may be considered as the first half-dozen: "Une Matinée" (1850), now in the Louvre; "Macbeth" (1859), in the Wallace Collection; "Le Lac" (1861); "L'Arbre brisé" (1865); "Pastorale—Souvenir d'Italie" (1873), in the Glasgow Corporation Art Gallery; "Biblis" (1875). Corot had a number of followers who called themselves his pupils. The best known are Boudin, Lepine, Chintreuil, Français and Le Roux.


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