Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was born in July 1796, In Paris. The artist was born into a wealthy family; his mother was a millier, and his father was a wigmaker. Unlike several of his fellow artists, Corot never suffered the need for money, as his parents consistently maintained their business well and made well-planned investments. Several distinguished Parisian figures frequented their shop.
At first, young Corot studied at the Lycee Pierre-Corneille in Rouen. However, he soon left due to academic difficulties and ingressed in a boarding school. Corot was a rather mediocre student, and as opposed to many distinguished artists, he didn’t show any artistic prowess during his childhood. Until 1815, the artist displayed no interest in art.
Soon, Corot, with his father’s help, was apprenticed to a draper. However, the artist despised commercial life, yet he remained in the job until he was twenty-six years old, when his father finally consented him to pursue a career as an artist. He started to paint in oil in 1821 and promptly explored landscape painting.
For a brief period, between 1821 and 1822, the artist studied under the French landscape painter Achille Etna Michallon, who was about Corot’s age and a protege of the distinguished Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David. Despite the young age, Michallon was already a respected teacher and had a significant influence on Corot’s artwork. During this period, Corot’s lessons included executing landscape drawings and painting outdoors, especially the seaports along Normandy, the forests in the commune of Fontainebleau, and villages around Paris, such as Ville-d’Avray. Michallon also introduced to the artist concepts of the French Neoclassical tradition, such as the works of the painter and art theorist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, demonstrated in artworks by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.
Following his return from his first trip to Italy, Corot focused his efforts on producing large landscape paintings for the Paris Salon. His first entry was with his View of Narni, which received praise for avoiding academic values and fidelity on representing light. However, Corot’s participation in the Salon in 1831 and 1833, when the artist exhibited several landscapes and a portrait, were met with a lukewarm reception from the critics, which made Corot decide to return to Italy.
During the 1840s, the artist continued to struggle with both the low income from the public and the critics, who rejected most of his artworks at the Salon. However, things began to change following Charles Baudelaire’s praises to his paintings. In 1846, Corot received the Legion D’honneur, and two years later, he was awarded the Salon’s second-class medal.
In his later life, the artist was a well-respected artist and would have his studio filed with pupils, models, dealers, friends, and collectors.
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot died on February 22, 1875, in Paris.