Friday, November 11, 2011

Corot, Jean-Baptiste Camille

Morning at Beauvais
c. 1860
Oil on canvas
36 x 42 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) was a French landscape painter.
He was arguably the most respected  & influential of all French landscape painters, a complete  generation before the birth of Impressionism. He spent most of his time in and around Rome, where he developed, through painting on the spot, his sensitive treatment of light, form and distance in terms of tonal values rather than by color and drawing.

“What there is to see in painting, or rather what I am looking for, is the form, the whole, the value of the tones…That is why for me the color comes after, because I love more than anything else the overall effect, the harmony of the tones, while color gives you a kind of shock that I don’t like. Perhaps it is the excess of this principal that makes people say I have leaden tones.” In his aversion to shocking color, Corot sharply diverged from the up-and-coming Impressionists, who embraced experimentation with vivid hues. "Corot is not a simple landscapist—he is a painter, a true painter; he is a rare and exceptional genius." (Delacroix)