|Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1796-1875||BACK
|French painter of landscape and portraits.
Trained-in the classical tradition of French landscape, founded
chiefly on Poussin, Corot went to Italy in 1825, and returned there many
times. There are three distinct styles in his painting. His early classical
landscapes, painted in rich panels of colour, often in the full glare
of an Italian noon, influenced Cezanne
and other Post-Impressionists in their composition by tonal contrasts
instead of strict drawing. In the 2nd style are the soft and silvery
woodland scenes painted from the 1850s to his death.
Finally he painted a few portraits and studies of women. The last are of a very high quality and have recently won recognition.
From a consideration of this working method one might reasonably conclude that Corot, overwhelmed by the beauty of Italy, was-perhaps unconsciously painting nature more and more for its own sake, for the pure pleasure of it, forgetting the didactic framework and the connection to his future Salon paintings. However, it would be a mistake to go further and deduce that he consciously regarded his studies as independent works worthy of being exhibited. Even though our contemporary eyes find the youthful Italian studies more moving than the lyrical paintings of the 1860s; even though our modern taste favors an unfinished work that reflects the artist's first response over a finished work, which can be stiff because of social or professional considerations, we still must recognize that the true motivation for Corot's studies was his studio painting, or else we will be false to his pictorial conception.
For Corot, the study was only an artistic potential that preceded and Inevitably led to the studio landscape. When working in the studio he could dispense with the study itself, relying instead on his memory: "'This memory,'he said, 'has served me better at times than nature itself could.... I would base a painting on that study; but, in a pinch, I could do without having it in front of me. When someone requests a copy of one of my subjects, I can make it easily without referring to the original; I keep a copy of all my works in my heart and in my eyes." Italy served to nourish that visual memory; the passion he later developed for making souvenirs had begun to take shape at that time. When he worked in the studio Corot did not systematically use his studies as a source of inspiration for a paysage coniposi, as some have asserted, and he could go directly to the painting without the preliminary stage of making a study from nature. The study from nature thus could become a work in the abstract, with the actual pictorial object obtained after each session of plein air painting mattering less than the memory it implanted in the mind of the landscapist.
|Italian Youth Sitting in Corot's Room in Rome, 1824
The Letter, 1865
Mantes: The Cathedral and the City Seen through the Trees, 1865
Pensive Oriental, 1870
Moonlit Landscape, 1874
This listing of artists is not official. It is merely intended to group the artists in an easy to navigate format.
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|NeoClassicism and Romanticism||ABC List
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