Born to milliners on 16 July,1796, Camille Corot seemed destined for a life in business. Abandoning his commercial career at the age of 26, Corot began to study under the academic landscape painter Victor Bertin, learning classical composition both in the studio and in his travels to Italy, the Netherlands and England. His gift for landscape was immediately apparent, and by 1845 he was critically acclaimed and selling his work regularly. His close alignment with nature, while not idealising the concept of the happy yeoman that his contemporary Millet presented, nor the romantic view of nature as an antidote to increased urbanisation and industrialisation of the age proposed by Rousseau, brought him into the realm of the Barbizon school.
Today, Corot is most appreciated for very different kinds of landscape: for plein air sketches, never destined to be exhibited themselves but painted outdoors in preparation for studio pictures, and for lyrical views of the countryside he called souvenirs. The soft, silvery souvenirs recapture a poetic response to nature. Their fresh touch and light atmosphere are informed by outdoor studies and combined with a strong sense of form retained from classical French landscapes of the seventeenth century. Corot's work was an important influence on younger Impressionist painters.
Well-loved by his friends, peers and pupils, Corot was a generous and noble soul. He gave unstintingly of both time and money, thus earning the nickname 'Père Corot'. Camille Corot was deeply mourned when he died in Paris on 22 February, 1875.
contributed by Gifford, Katya