Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 1796 - 1875


Corot was born in Italy to a fashion cloth merchant millionaire. He was educated in a boarding school, then later studied in Rouen and Poissy. He followed his father's footsteps into the fashion cloth trade and held many apprenticeships. However, in his spare time, it is documented that he drew and painted landscape and later attended classes at the Academie Suisse.

In 1821, Corot's sister died. His father gave him two choices. Either he could enter the cloth trade and inherit his sister's diary or become an artist and receive only the income generated from the diary. Corot chose to be an artist and supported himself with a modest income.

In 1822,he studied with Achille-Etna Michallon where he learned the technique of outdoor oil painting. Michallon also gave Corot his own models to study. After six months, Michallon died. Corot then joined the Jean-Victor Bertin studio for the next three years. During this time, Corot met several artists in hotels and at the Cafe Grecco.

Corot learned to include structure in his paintings. He also concentrated on the freshness of the oil painting and principles of classical landscape composition. Corot's paintings sometimes focused on ornamentation throughout time. His paintings were said to have harmony of two to three colors with perfect juxtaposed compositions. One difference in Corot's style compared to the Impressionist style is, Corot painted his compositions in his studio and he painted his studies in plein air.

In 1827, he was favored by the critics and recognized as one of the most popular landscape painters in Italy.

Corot traveled to France and back to Italy sometimes six months at a time. Although many of his paintings did not sell, he was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1846.

It wasn't until the 1850's, when Corot's painting were recognized. In this year, he participated in a series of large compositions.

In the 1850's Corot changed his style from hard light to soft forms created by dissolving light. This new style gave him the title "Papa Corot". Corot influenced many artists and generations of landscape painters with his new tonal approach to capture atmosphere. Pissarro was influenced by Corot and acknowledged him as his master.

The majority of Corot's Italian oils were not publicly known until after his death in 1875.

Paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

  • Girl with the Red Sweater - 1845/50
  • Morning--The Dance of Nymphs- 1850/51
  • Souvenir of Mortefontaine 1864
  • The Boatman of Mortefontaine 1865 - 1870
  • L'Atelier de Corot 1865 - 1870
  • La Toilette - 1859
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