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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

July 16, 1796 - February 22, 1875


Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a French landscape painter and printmaker, born on July 17, 1796. He was a shy child, born into a stable and successful family. His father was a wigmaker, and his mother was a miller, and they led a comfortable life. Corot was educated at the Collège de Rouen and wasn’t an incredibly successful student in traditional schooling. Still, he completed two apprenticeships that allowed him to save money. From his earnings, he could devote all of his time to painting. His peers advised him that moving to Italy would help strengthen his landscape painting skills. He headed their advice and moved to Italy in 1825 for three years. In 1827 he sent his first paintings to a salon in Paris. For the next few decades of his life, he spent his time traveling around Europe, painting landscapes and filling sketchbooks with his drawings. During the cold months when he was confined in his studio, he painted more fanciful and biblical paintings. In the 1850s, his painting style began to soften with a smaller variety of colors with less intricately detailed landscapes. These changes made it easier for young artists to replicate and reproduce his work to sell. It also made it easier for forgers to profit off of his work. At the Exposition Universelle, Corot showed six of his paintings and received a Gold Medal. While Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s art had a substantial impact on the impressionist movement, his work is often overlooked.

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