Renowned French painter, especially of landscapes, who worked in romantic, realistic, and protoimpressionistic styles (see Impressionism). Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was born in Paris, the son of a draper, who reluctantly allowed him to study oil painting. He learned classical principles of composition from academic landscape painter Victor Bertin, whose teachings shaped the calm, well-structured landscapes Corot painted from 1825 to 1828 in Italy. Examples are the Forum (1826) and the Bridge of Narni (1827), both of which are in the Louvre, Paris.
From 1828 until his death, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot lived in Paris. During the warm months of the year he traveled throughout Europe, painting small oil sketches that, like those of his friends in the Barbizon School of artists, are among the first French landscapes to be painted outdoors. The sketches are marked by careful structure and the sense of natural light. He worked during winter months in his studio, producing large salon pieces with biblical or historical subjects. By 1845, after receiving critical acclaim, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot began to sell his work. His landscapes thereafter became imaginary creations bathed in a filmy romantic atmosphere achieved by silvery tones and soft brushstrokes. Examples of this protoimpressionistic style, for which he became famous, are versions of Ville-d'Avray and Memory of Mortefontaine (1864, Louvre). Although he tended to repeat his success in this vein to meet popular demand, he also painted such outstanding works as The Belfry at Douai (1871, Louvre) in his earlier classical style; he also painted a number of portraits and figure studies. His popularity was such that he is said to be the most forged of all oil painters.
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