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Camille Corot

Born: Paris, 17 July 1796
Died: Paris, 22 February 1875
Nationality: French
Background: 

bourgeois – parents owned clothing shop

Studies: 

classical education at College de Rouen; with landscape painter Achille Etna Michallon (1821-22) and Jean-Victor Bertin (both pupils of Valenciennes); with Théodore Caruelle d’Aligny (Rome)

Career: 

1827 – Bridge at Narni and La Cervara (Kunsthaus, Zurich) exhibited at Salon; exhibits there regularly throughout his career

1840 – French state purchases Shepherd Boy (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Metz)

1846 – Charles Baudelaire and Champfleury write favorable Salon reviews

1849 – elected to Salon jury; serves on jury regularly throughout his career

1862 – paints with Gustave Courbet in Saintonge

Travels

Rome (1825-28; 1834; 1843); summers spent touring France; frequent visits to Switzerland; London (1862)

Commissions from: 

Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d’Orléans; Napoleon III; Prince Demidov (Russia)

Important Artworks: 

Bridge at Narni , 1827 (National Gallery, Ottawa)

Orpheus and Eurydice, 1830 (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

Souvenir of Mortefontaine, 1864 (Louvre, Paris)

See Nadar's portrait of Corot

 

The French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) assessed the importance and influence of Corot for landscape painting:


 
  “At the head of the modern school of landscape stands M[onsieur]. Corot. If M. Théodore Rousseau were to exhibit, his supremacy would be in some doubt, for to a naiveté, an originality which are at least equal, M. Rousseau adds a greater charm and a greater sureness of execution. It is naiveté and originality, in fact, which constitute M. Corot’s worth. Obviously this artist loves nature sincerely, and knows how to look at her with as much knowledge as love. The qualities by which he excels are so strong – because they are qualities of heart and soul – that M. Corot’s influence is visible today in almost all the works of the young landscape-painters – in those, above all, who already had the good sense to imitate him and to profit by his manner before he was famous and at a time when his reputation still did not extend beyond the world of the studios.”

Charles Baudelaire, “The Salon of 1845,” Art in Paris 1845-1862. Salons and Other Exhibitions, Jonathan Mayne, trans. and ed. (Oxford: Phaidon, 1965), 24.