The French painter and printmaker Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) is famous for his landscape paintings. He is recognized as an important figure in landscape painting, and his life and works are, to a great extent, the “bridge” between the Neoclassical tradition of landscape painting and the Plein-air technique of Impressionism.
However, many art lovers sometimes forget that Corot was also a portrait painter. As a portrait painter, he created numerous portraits, including portraits of beautiful girls. This article will briefly examine his very interesting and successful life and career and then discuss some of the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot paintings of beautiful girls.
Life as a Child
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s parents were bourgeois who ran their milliner business successfully and invested well. Because of the good income they earned from their business, Jean-Baptiste never felt the need for money. And as his parents’ millinery shop was a famous destination for fashionable Parisians, he was used to seeing beautiful girls in fashionable dresses.
As a child, Corot was not interested in art. But as a student, he lived with the Sennegon family. The Sennegon patriarch frequently took the young Corot on nature walks. Here, where the walks had taken place, his love for nature had begun, and where the first Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot paintings would be created. This also explains why landscapes played such an important role in his later life.
Jean-Baptiste Artist Story
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot became a draper, and although he despised commercial life, he stayed in the trade until he was 26. Many art scholars believe that this early exposure to colours and textiles helped to develop his aesthetic sense.
In 1822, Corot began to receive a yearly allowance from his family, which enabled him to finance his art studies and career. Between 1821 and 1822, he was a student of a landscape painter, Achille Etna Michallon. After her unexpected death in 1822, Corot became a student of the Neoclassical landscape painter Jean-Victor Bertin.
Corot also followed the pattern of most French painters to go to Italy to study the masters of the Italian Renaissance. Before he left for Italy, he painted his first self-portrait. Although he was primarily interested in landscapes, he started to create portraits of friends and relatives, and he also started to receive commissions for portrait paintings. In 1874, shortly before his death, his friends presented him with a gold medal.
Corot’s Portraits of Women
Famous Jean Baptiste painter could masterfully capture the delicate features of a woman, including her soft complexion, the depth of her gaze, and graceful movements. But most of the girls in his paintings are without a smile. Instead, he depicted them in sombre moods.
Some of the famous Jean Baptiste painter’s works capture the moment when the woman turns, usually in distraction, to an unexpected visitor. Many of the female figures in his portraits are completely turned away from the viewer. The viewer feels like an intruder in an intimate setting.
Although Corot also painted girls in the nude in sensual and often scandalous poses, he created many portraits of beautiful girls in beautiful settings, indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, the names of the beautiful models are generally not known according to the custom of that time.
Interestingly, while most of the beautiful girls in his paintings look away from the viewer, the nudes almost always look directly at the viewer.
Women in Reading-related Portraits created by Corot
Corot loved to depict women reading or handling a book. Let’s look at three of his paintings where women are depicted either reading a book or holding a book. His “A Girl Reading” was painted between 1845 and 1850, in other words, during the early-to-mid period of his career. The portrait depicts a beautiful girl who is reading alone.
One of his other famous “reading” portraits is “Woman reading in a landscape,” where the girl reads outdoors in a field with the sea and a boat in the background not far from where she is sitting.
Corot exhibited the work at the Salon of 1869 and was praised by art critics for its naiveté and his use of colour. He was, however, criticised for the “faulty” drawing of the girl’s figure. After the Salon, he reworked the background but didn’t change anything about the beautiful figure. In “Interrupted Reading,” one of his most famous reading theme portraits, an impatient young girl is depicted staring at the viewer, waiting to return to her book.
Other Paintings with Women as Subjects
“Springtime of Life” was created in 1871 when Jean-Baptiste, the artist, was 74 years old and had already earned the “title” of “Father of Impressionism.” Therefore it is an essential painting for art scholars to study as many aspects of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s painting style can be found in it. In this painting, Corot depicted a young woman walking alone in the woods, picking up flowers.
Although the portrait’s title is “Springtime of Life,” the landscape around her is colored cold, greyish, and blue-tinted. The girl holds her head down, and her eyes are closed, but she has a subtle smile on her lips. She wears a soft pink dress and has tied her blond hair with a black headpiece. In her hands, she holds her dress and a group of flowers.
The ground around her feet was painted very quickly, as was Corot’s way of work – fast yet balanced and still displaying realistic representation.
Another Corot famous work of a young woman and is not part of the reading theme is “The Young Woman of Albano .”This Jean-Baptiste art portrait was created in 1872. Albano is a small Italian commune with an old traditional culture, so the girl wears regional clothes. She wears a long-sleeved blouse with a red vest on top of it. She also wears a long golden necklace. “The Young Woman of Albano” is a beautiful portrait of a beautiful woman.
Although Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is famous for his landscapes, he was also an excellent portrait painter, and young women were often the subjects of these paintings. Thus, the beauty of Jean-Baptiste’s art can be found in his landscapes and portraits, especially portraits of beautiful girls.