The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, 1796-1875

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1796.07.16
Place of Birth: Paris
Date of Death: 1875.02.22
Place of Death: Ville-d'Avray


Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was a landscape painter.


Corot received a classical education at the Collège de Rouen, and then became apprenticed with two drapers. He decided to become a painter at the age of twenty-six and studied under two pupils of Pierre-Henri Valenciennes, Achille Etna Michallon and Jean-Victor Bertin. Travelling to Italy in November 1825 he began painting oil studies out of doors, e.g. Augustin Bridge at Narni (1826; Louvre) as well as painting landscapes influenced by Claude and the seventeenth century Dutch tradition.

Corot spent much of his career travelling, painting the countryside of France, Switzerland and the Low Countries. In 1846 his works met with praise from Baudelaire and Champfleury. In 1862 he travelled to London where his works were being shown as part of the International Exhibition.

Corot's Brittany landscapes from 1829 onwards may have been influential for Whistler's 1861 painting of the Brittany coast, The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39). Whistler's pupil Walter Sickert later declared that Whistler's tiny panel paintings of landscape, seascapes and shop fronts of the 1880s and 1890s were 'on the ground of the early Corot'.


Robaut, A., L'Oeuvre de Corot: Catalogue raisonné et illustré, précédé de l'histoire de Corot et de son oeuvre par E. Moreau-Nélaton, 4 vols, Paris, 1905; Wissman, Fronia E., '(Jean-Baptiste-)Camille Corot', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 22 February 2002).