Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, was a prominent French painter, evolving from historical paintings to naturalistic scenes, he would remain most notably known for establishing the landscape genre as an independent genre. His early sketches, along with his Plein-air practices, will influence his contemporaries, such as Barbizon painters and open a path for later Impressionist painters.
Born in Paris in 1796 from a middle-class household, it was not only 26 years old, given the financial support from his parents, that Corot devoted himself to painting.
Studying under the landscapist Achille Etna Michallon, and after his death with Jean-Victor Bertin, Jean-Baptiste Corot learned to paint nature directly, capturing its different elements with scrupulousness. The instruction he received from both teachers, combining historical Neoclassic compositions and landscapes and his interest in Northern European currents will further pave the way for Corot’s artistic development.
From 1825 to 1828, Corot made his first trip to Italy, this journey, along with the other two in 1834, and 1843, would be essential to the artist’s formation. He would develop his interest in Plein-air paintings, studying panoramic views, while experimenting with new colours, and ea more fluid brushwork. This period remained crucial as it would consolidate his formation as a landscape painter.
In 1840, the artist’s reputation was established, the French government had acquired one of his work, his works were regularly exhibited at the Salon, and often praised by critics.
Travelling extensively to Ville d’Avray, his family home, and other regions of France, such as Burgundy, and Provence, the artist, would alternate between open-air sketches, studies, and studio work, where he would take on more important compositions and portraits.
From the 1850s onward, Corot’s style evolved towards a more melancholic, idyllic approach to nature, exemplified by his lyrical countryside views or his silvery light compositions which seem to be grounded in the artist’s memories. He will also further his interest in romantic and mythological portraits reminiscent of Renaissance painters, such as Raphael.
Corot remains a pivotal figure, inspired generations of artists, and his works are to included in numerous collections such as the National Gallery, London; the Louvre, Paris; Metropolitan Art Museum, New York.