Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Camille Corot – part 1

1825 Self Portrait
Oil on canvas 32.5 x 24.5 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) was a French landscape and portrait painter, as well as printmaker. He is regarded as a pivotal figure in landscape painting; his vast output simultaneously referencing the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipating the ‘plein-air’ innovations of Impressionism.

Better known today as Camille Corot, he was born in Paris in 1796, the son of a cloth merchant and a milliner. After an education at the Collège de Rouen and two abortive apprenticeships with drapers, he was given the financial freedom at the age of 26 to devote himself to painting.

In 1825 to 1828 Corot made the trip to Italy considered so essential to the formation of a landscape artist, spending time in Rome and the Campagna, before travelling to Naples. In 1827 he sent his first paintings to the Paris Salon: View at Narni and The Roman Campagna.

1826-27 View at Narni
Oil on canvas 
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

1826-27c The Roman Campagna (La Cervara)
Oil on canvas 
Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland

He returned to Italy in 1834 and 1843. He also travelled extensively in France, to Normandy, Provence, and the Morvan region of Burgundy, to which he returned for many years, and to North-East France in 1871 during the Commune. In 1854 he travelled to Holland and Belgium; he regularly visited Switzerland, and was in London in 1862.

During these trips Corot painted in the open air and filled numerous notebooks with drawings. His early oil sketches were clearly defined and fresh, using bright colours in fluid strokes. During the winter months he worked in the studio on ambitious mythological and religious landscapes destined for the salon. Hagar in the Wilderness, exhibited at the salon of 1835, is characteristic of his early work, and like his open-air studies, features the clear-cut forms and colours of academic painting.

1835 Hagar in the Wilderness
Oil on canvas 180.3 x 270.5 cm 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

His reputation was established by the 1850s, which was also the period when his style became softer and his colours more restricted. Topographical detail was suppressed in favour of mood and atmosphere, above all in his ‘souvenirs’ which were based on memories of real landscapes.

1860-61 Souvenir de Pierrefonds
Oil on canvas 46 x 38 cm 
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

The popularity of these combined with Corot’s encouragement of younger artists to copy his pictures (which he then signed), either as a learning exercise or for producing works for sale, resulted in numerous forgeries and imitations, as well as difficulties of attribution.

At the Exposition Universelle of 1855 Corot showed six paintings and won a gold medal. His influence on later C19th landscape painting, including the Impressionists, was immense. For a long time however, especially among collectors, the popularity of his late work overshadowed appreciation of his early studies. Camille Corot died in 1875.

Biographical notes adapted from The National Gallery, London, and Wikipedia.


This is part 1 of a 16-part series on the works of Camille Corot:


1822 Bois Guillaumi, near Rouen A Gate Flanked by Two Posts
Oil on canvas 
Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna, Ca'Pesaro, Italy

1822 Dieppe, End of a Pier and the Sea
Oil on canvas 
Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

1822 Fontainebleau, Storm over the Plains
Oil on paper 
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland

1822 Landscape inspired by the View of Frascati
Oil on canvas 127 x 171 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1822 Moret sur Loing, the Bridge and the Church
Oil on canvas 30.5 x 39.5 cm 
Private Collection

1822-24c Fontainebleau, the Road to Chailly
Oil on board 26 x 32.5 cm 
Private Collection

1823-24c A Farm Building at Bois-Guillaume near Rouen
Oil on panel 25.3 x 33 cm 
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA

1823-24c Fontainebleau
Oil on board 
Private Collection

1823-24c Fontainebleau, en Forêt
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 21 x 29.2 cm 
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, UK

1823c Banks of the Stream near the Corot Property, Ville d'Avray
Oil on paper mounted on wood 21.9 x 23.5 cm 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1823c Le Petit Chaville, near Ville-d'Avray
Oil on canvas 
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, UK

1823c Shipyard in Honfleur
Oil on paper 43.8 x  29.5 cm 
Private Collection

1824-25c Honfleur, The Old Wharf
Oil on canvas 
Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence RI

1824-26 Le Vieux Pont St Michel
Oil on canvas 25 x 30 cm 
Oise Museum, Beauvais, France

1825 Between Lake Geneva and the Alps
Oil on canvas 
Private Collection

1825 Italian Peasant Boy
Oil on canvas 
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1825 Landscape
Oil on canvas 41 x 32.7 cm 
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

1825 The Colosseum, seen through the Arcades of the Basilica of Constantine
Oil on paper 23 x 35 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1825-27c The Tiber River Hemmed in by the Collines
Oil on canvas 
Private Collection

1825-28 Civita Castellana, Rocks with Trees
Oil on paper mounted on board 
Private Collection

1825-28 Italian Sitting, Leaning on her Knee
Oil on canvas 27 x 22 cm 
Louvre, Paris

1825-28c Italian Landscape
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 12.7 x 27 cm 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1825-30c The Inn at Montigny les Cormeilles
Oil 
Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley, MA

1825c Ville-d'Avray: Entrance to the Wood
Oil on canvas 46 x 35 cm 
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, UK

1826 Cascade of Terni
Oil on canvas 36 x 32 cm 
Private Collection

1826 Civita Castellana and Mount Soracte
Oil on paper 36 x 27 cm 
Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva

1826 La Monta Soracte
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 
Private Collection

1826 Old Man Seated on Corot's Trunk
Oil on canvas

1826 On the Banks of the Tiber
Oil on canvas 
Private Collection

1826 Papigno, Buildings Overlooking the Valley
Oil on canvas 
Private Collection

1826 Rocks at Civita Castellana
Oil on canvas 32 x 44 cm 
Private Collection

1826 Rome, View from the Farnese Gardens, Noon
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 30 x 49 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1826 Temple of Minerva Medica
Oil on canvas 21 x 27 cm 
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Angers, France

1826 The Bridge at Narni
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 34 x 48 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1826 The Forum seen from the Farnese Gardens, Rome
Oil on canvas 28 x 50 cm 
Musée du Louvre, Paris

1826 The Lake of Piediluco, Umbria
Oil on canvas 22 x 41 cm 
The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, UK

1826 View from the Farnese Gardens, Rome
Oil on canvas 25.1 x 40.6 cm  
Philips Collection, Washington DC

1826 View of Rome from Monte Pincio
Oil on paper mounted on canvas 24.4 x 42.2 cm 
Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Minnesota

1826 View of the Convent of Sant'Onofrio on the Janiculum, Rome
Oil on paper marouflé to canvas 22 x 33 cm 
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

1826 Waterfall at Terni
Oil on paper mounted on wood 26.7 x 30.8 cm 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

1826-18 Ponte Nomentano
Oil on canvas 
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam