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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot BiographyFrench Barbizon School painter & draftsman
born 26 July 1796 - died 22 February 1875
Also known as: Camille-Jean-Baptiste
Corot, Kamill Koro, Kamill Korot, Pére Corot.
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, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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. The painter
visited Italy on three occasions: two of his Roman studies are now in the Louvre.
He was a regular contributor to the Salon
lifetime, and in 1846 was decorated with the
cross of the Legion of Honour. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot died in Paris, on the 22nd of
February 1875, and was buried at Père
|Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot paintings 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 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting manner became full of “mystery” and poetry. In the last ten years of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting 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 artists the world has ever seen, along with Hobbema, Claude, Turner and Constable.|
During the last few years of his life the artist earned large sums by
his pictures, which became greatly
sought after. In 1871 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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 Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 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 Jean-Baptiste-Camille 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 his method and also how
masterly are his
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot paintings 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, Français 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.)
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