Date of Birth: 17/7/1796
A French landscape painter and printmaker in etching who became a pivotal figure in landscape painting. Corot was the son of a wigmaker and a milliner. He studied at the Collge de Rouen but showed little interest in art. Instead he was apprenticed as a draper but his dislike of business and growing love of nature led him to take up art at the age of 26. He first studied with the landscapist Achille Etna Michallon, and after his death with Jean-Victor Bertin, both pupils of Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes. Corot travelled to Italy and around France on study trips, painting outdoors and preparing large landscapes for presentation at the Salon, the official art exhibition of the Acadmie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. During the winter months he worked in the studio on ambitious mythological and religious landscapes. His reputation was established by the 1850s and at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, Corot showed six paintings and won a gold medal. His influence on later 19th-century landscape painting, including the Impressionists, was immense, particularly in his portrayal of light on the landscape. As is the case with Seascape with Figures on Cliffs, Corot encouraged younger artists to copy his pictures (which he then signed), either as a learning exercise or for producing works for sale, resulted in numerous forgeries and imitations, as well as difficulties of attribution. Claude Monet is quoted as saying: "There is only one master here - Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing."