Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was born on July 26, 1786 in Paris. He grew up in a middle-class family in Rouen, where he was a draper's apprentice. At the age of 26 he gave up his unloved job to pursue a career as an artist. In 1822 Corot took painting lessons from his successful contemporaries A.E. Michallon and Victor Bertin, who ran a school for landscape painting in the tradition of Poussins.
During his studies under Bertin, Corot painted his first landscapes. When he traveled to Italy after his studies, he continued to perfect his skill of lending his pictures an unusual clarity and transparency. Having returned to Paris, he processed the impressions from his Italian trip, remaining untouched by the public arguments between Romantic and Classicist painters.
From 1831 Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot held regular and very successful exhibitions at the Paris salons. From the late 1940s he was in close contact with the painters of Barbizon, among whom he was particularly close to Daubigny. From 1850 various landscape painters gathered around Corot, as he was moving further away from an academic faithfulness to detail towards a more liberal style with a stronger sense of atmosphere.
The ease in which he painted stems form his intensive studies on the effects of light, which are reflected in the very fine shades of his pictures, seeming to anticipate numerous Impressionist stylistic devices.
When Corot suffered from gout, he gradually had to give up landscape painting. Corot's late phase was dominated by portraits of women, which he painted in a confident and liberal style.
On February 22, 1875 Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot died in Ville d'Avray.