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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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Jean Baptiste Camille
Corot
French painter & draftsman
born July 26 1796- died February 22 1875

Also known as:
Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, Pére Corot, Kamill Koro, Kamill

Nationality:
French

Teacher of:

Friend of:

Student of:


Biographical Information

COROT, JEAN-BAPTISTE CAMILLE (1796—1875), French landscape painter, was born in Paris, in a house on the Quai by the rue du Bac, now demolished, on the 26th of July 1796. 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, on the 22nd of February 1875, 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, Great 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, Francais and Le Roux.

AUTHORITIES. — H. Dumesnil, Souvenirs intimes (Paris, 1875); Roger-Miles, Les Artistes célèbres: Corot (Paris, 1891); Roger-Miles, Album classique des chefs-d’wuvres de Corot (Paris, 1895); J. Rousseau, Bibliothèque d’art moderne: Camille Corot (Paris, 1884); J. Claretie, Peintres et sculpteurs contemporains: Corot (Paris, 1884); Ch. Bigot, Peintres francais contemporains: Corot (Paris, 1888); Geo. Moore, Ingres and Corot in Modern Painting (London, 1893); David Croal Thomson, Corot (4to, London, 1892); Mrs Schuyler van Rensselaer, “Corot,” Century Magazine (June 1889); Corot, The Portfolio (1870), p. 60, (1875) p. 146; R. A. M. Stevenson, “Corot as an Example of Style in Painting,” Scottish Art Review (Aug. 1888); Ethel Birnstigl and Alice Pollard, Corot (London, 1904); Alfred Robaut, L'Oeuvre de Corot, catalogue raisonné et illustré, pricédi de l’histoire de Corot et de ses isuvres par Etienne Morceau-Nilaton (Paris, 1905). (D. C. T.)

Source: Based on the artist's entry in the 1911 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

   Artist Portraits

   Books and Related Products About This Artist

Les Petits Denicheurs

Oil on canvas
71.8 x 100.6 cm
(28.27" x 39.61")
Private collection

Added: 2002-02-14
Les Petits Denicheurs
Le Toilette

1859
Oil on canvas
Public collection

Added: 2005-08-14
The Baptism of Christ

1845-1847
Oil on canvas
Church of Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet (United States)

Added: 2006-02-22
The Baptism of Christ
Portrait of a Gentleman

1829
Oil on canvas
45.7 x 37.5 cm
(17.99" x 14.76")
Private collection

Added: 2007-02-19
Le Torrent Pierreaux (Crépuscule)

Translated title: The Pierreaux Torrent (Twilight)
c1865-c1870
Oil on canvas
50.2 x 61.6 cm
(19.76" x 24¼")
Private collection

Added: 2002-07-07
The Augustan Bridge at Narni [detail]

1826
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
34 x 48 cm
(13.39" x 18.9")
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)

Added: 2002-09-07
The Augustan Bridge at Narni

1826
Oil on paper mounted on canvas
34 x 48 cm
(13.39" x 18.9")
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)

Added: 2002-09-07
Florence ­ The Boboli Gardens

c1834-c1835
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre (Paris, France)

Added: 2005-08-14
Florence ­ The Boboli Gardens
A Cow and its Keeper

1870-1872
Oil on canvas
Public collection

Added: 2005-08-14
A Cow and its Keeper
A Dune at Dunkirk

1873
Oil on cradled panel
34.61 x 67.31 cm
(13.63" x 26½")
Public collection

Added: 2005-08-14
A Dune at Dunkirk