Camille Jean-Baptiste Corot
Born in Paris to a wealthy commercial family, Corot was educated at Rouen before working in a draper's shop. It was not until the age of 26 however, that Corot was sufficently able to convince his parents to consent to him painting as a full-time occupation.
Training with the artists, Achille Michallon and Jean-Victor Bertin, Corot began painting out of doors as his tutors advised. Making the first of three trips to Italy in 1825, it was here that Corot began to flourish using a technique of 'plein air' painting that he would later make his own. Treating distance in terms of tone, he was to create a painterly style which fused Rococo and 18th century French influence with the artists lifelong dedication to the Classical principles of landscape.
Though widely admired, and even named by Baudelaire as 'the head of the French landscape school' in 1845, Corot was never the recipient of offical patronage, and was largely reliant on the purchases of private collectors. He is remembered now as a 'pure' painter, unconcerned with depicting his own lifetime. Though his preference was for conventional landscape scenes, his innovations in technique and painting in 'plein air' were to precede the work of the Impressionists.