(July 16, 1796 – February, 1875) He was a French landscape and portrait painter. His enormous output references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the outdoor innovations of Impressionism.
During the period when Corot came of age landscape painting was on the upswing and divided into two camps: historical landscapes by Neoclassicists of idealized views of real and imagined sites featuring ancient, mythological, and biblical figures; and secondly, realistic landscape featuring topography, architecture, and flora - figures of rural folk were typical. In both approaches, landscape artists would normally begin with outdoor sketching and some painting, with finishing work done indoors.
Corot would spend his summers travelling and doing studies and sketches, and his winters finishing the works. He approached his landscapes traditionally, that is restrained, and his paintings were dominated with browns and blacks, along with dark and silvery green. Usually his strokes were controlled and his compositions well-thought out and rendered as concisely as possible. His style produced a poetic effect on the images.
Below are selected works which I may well revisit often, as each is a feast for the eye.
|Houses near Orleans, 1830, Getty Museum
(Link to Getty)
| Le pont de Mantes, circa 1869, Louvre
Museum Notes: The work exhibits soft fluid fluent brushstrokes that make it seem as if it had been moved by a gentle breeze and by a freshness that floods all of the senses. On the other hand the atmosphere, which serves as a unifying element, is established through the light, a key factor in allowing the viewer to perceive the essential quality of the landscape, which is described as a whole rather than in fragmentary form. Generally displaying naturalist influences, Corot’s art in this period is decisively marked by this diffusion and translucency, through which, as the artist himself asserted, sensations captured in the open air are reproduced without ever losing sight of the importance of the first impression
Landscape at Coubron, National Galleries Scotland
During his later years Corot often visited the hamlet of Coubron, situated west of Paris near Le Raincy. In 1873 he had a studio built there, adjoining the property of his friends Dr and Mme Gratiot. This painting has been dated to around 1870-2, but it is difficult to be precise. Corot did spend more time in Coubron from 1872 onwards in order to escape the pressure of clients at his Paris studio. The motif of the willow trees, horse and rider and a peasant woman gathering flowers are all found frequently in Corot’s late work.