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Artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Photo

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

French Painter

Movements and Styles: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, The Barbizon School, Realism, Naturalism

Born: July 17, 1796 - Paris, France

Died: February 22, 1875 - Paris, France

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Timeline

Quotes

"I have noticed that whatever is finished at one sitting is fresher, better drawn, and profits more from many lucky accidents, while when one retouches this initial harmonious glow is lost. I think that this method is particularly good for foliage, which needs a good deal of freedom."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
"Be guided by feeling alone. We are only simple mortals, subject to error; so listen to the advice of others, but follow only what you understand and can unite in your own feeling."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
"Beauty in art is truth bathed in an impression received from nature. I am struck upon seeing a certain place. While I strive for a conscientious imitation, I yet never for an instant lose the emotion that has taken hold of me. Reality is one part of art; feeling completes it."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
"Before any site and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
"Nature is behind a veil, upon which some masses of form are vaguely sketched. The damp, sweet smell of the incense of spring is in the air - you breathe deeply - a sense of religious emotion sweeps over you - you close your eyes an instant in a prayer of thankfulness that you are alive."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
"I am never in a hurry to reach details. First and above all I am interested in the large masses and the general character of a picture; when these are well established, then I try for subtleties of form and color. I rework the painting constantly and freely, and without any systematic method."
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

"I interpret with my art as much as with my eye."

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Signature

Synopsis

The hazy landscapes and poetic mythological tableaux of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot mark an important period of transition in French painting, from the academic Neoclassicism of the early 19th century to the vanguard developments of its later decades, when truth to life, and to emotion, became a more important marker of artistic value than historical or moral significance; and when landscape painting came into its own as the defining genre of the age. Corot was too old to be directly associated with the movements - Realism, Impressionism - which articulated this shift, and was connected with the academic institutions which they spurned. But the lyrical expressiveness of his work, its focus on the natural world, and its movement away from a sharp academic style, made it an important exemplar for the artistic radicals of the late-19th century.

Key Ideas

Although he was an academic painter schooled in Neoclassicism, Corot's landscapes were hailed as having predicted the advances of Impressionism. They became renowned for their soft color-palettes, often rendered with such a low level of tonal contrast that they approached a monochrome effect. The resultant dreamlike quality reflected his desire to stay true to his "first impression" of a landscape, an aim carried much further by Claude Monet and others later in the century.
Corot was also involved in the development of Realism, making periodic trips from the late 1820s onwards to the Fontainebleau Forest, where he met and befriended the Barbizon School of painters. These artists were attempting to divest the French landscape of its historical and mythological baggage, painting only what was there, in a spirit of rapt attentiveness to nature. Following his initial association with the group, Corot began producing increasingly naturalistic landscape paintings, with a strongly emotive draw that predicts many of the subsequent efforts of Millet, Courbet, and others.
Corot was an early advocate of painting en plein air, working with his easel on location in order to capture his first emotional response to a particular scene or setting. This was a technique later made famous by Impressionist painters such as Monet, as well as by Corot's pupils Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot, who often paid homage to Corot's techniques as showing them how to capture their own first reactions to a natural setting.

Biography

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Photo

Childhood

Born into a well-to-do family in Paris, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was raised in the millinery shop owned and operated by his parents. The business was fashionable and successful, his mother's hat-making earning her a considerable reputation among the Parisian elite, and Corot's childhood was passed in a comfortable and creative setting. However, though he received a classical education at the Collège du Rouen, Corot was a listless student, described by early biographers as shy, awkward, and unimpressive. At his father's insistence, he took up an apprenticeship to a draper - his father's trade - but found it unfulfilling and dull, and duly enrolled in evening drawing classes at the privately run Académie Suisse. Though his parents were reluctant to allow him to pursue a career as a painter, they relented after the death of their younger daughter, even granting him an allowance, so that he could devote himself to his studies with a degree of financial independence.

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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Interactive chart with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Claude LorrainClaude Lorrain
Nicolas PoussinNicolas Poussin
Pierre Henri de Valenciennes
Achille Etna Michallon
Jean-Victor Bertin

Personal Contacts

NeoclassicismNeoclassicism
RomanticismRomanticism
The Barbizon SchoolThe Barbizon School

Movements

Theodore RousseauTheodore Rousseau
Paul Huet
Constant Troyon
Jean-François MilletJean-François Millet
Charles-François DaubignyCharles-François Daubigny

Influences on Artist
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Years Worked: 1825 - 1874
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Alfred SisleyAlfred Sisley
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro
Berthe MorisotBerthe Morisot
Claude MonetClaude Monet

Personal Contacts

The Barbizon SchoolThe Barbizon School
ImpressionismImpressionism
RealismRealism

Movements

Theodore RousseauTheodore Rousseau
Paul Huet
Constant Troyon
Jean-François MilletJean-François Millet
Charles-François DaubignyCharles-François Daubigny

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Nikki Georgopulos

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Greg Thomas

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Nikki Georgopulos
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Greg Thomas
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