Corot was born in Paris on July 16, 1796, the son of a draper, who reluctantly allowed him to study painting. From the
academic landscape painter Victor Bertin he learned classical principles of composition, which shaped the calm,
well-structured landscapes he painted from 1825 to 1828 in Italy.
From 1828 until his death, Corot lived in Paris. During the warm months he traveled throughout Europe, painting small
oil sketches that, like those of his friends in the Barbizon School of artists, are among the first French landscapes to
be painted outdoors. The sketches are marked by careful structure and the sense of natural light. He worked during
winter months in his studio, producing large salon pieces with biblical or historical subjects. By 1845, after receiving
critical acclaim, Corot began to sell his work. His landscapes thereafter became imaginary creations bathed in a filmy
romantic atmosphere achieved by silvery tones and soft brushstrokes. Although he tended to repeat his success in
this vein to meet popular demand, he also painted such outstanding works as "The Belfry" at Douai in his earlier
classical style; he also painted a number of portraits and figure studies. He was generous to his friends and pupils
with both time and money, earning the title père Corot. He died in Paris on February 22, 1875.