(b Paris, 17 July 1796; d Paris, 22 Feb 1875). French
painter, draughtsman and printmaker.
After a classical education at the Collège de Rouen, where he did not
distinguish himself, and an unsuccessful apprenticeship with two
drapers, Corot was allowed to devote himself to painting at the age of
26. He was given some money that had been intended for his sister, who
had died in 1821, and this, together with what we must assume was his
family’s continued generosity, freed him from financial worries and from
having to sell his paintings to earn a living. Corot chose to follow a
modified academic course of training. He did not enrol in the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts but studied instead with Achille Etna Michallon and, after
Michallon’s death in 1822, with Jean-Victor Bertin. Both had been pupils
of Pierre-Henri Valenciennes, and, although in later years Corot denied
that he had learnt anything of value from his teachers, his career as a
whole shows his attachment to the principles of historic landscape
painting which they professed.