In 1825 to 1828 Corot made the trip to Italy considered so essential to the formation of a landscape artist, spending time in Rome and the Campagna, before travelling to Naples. In 1827 he sent his first paintings to the Paris Salon.
Corot returned to Italy in 1834 and 1843. He also travelled extensively in France, to Normandy, Provence, the Morvan region in Burgundy, to which he returned for many years, and to north-east France in 1871 during the Commune. In 1854 he travelled in Holland and Belgium; he regularly visited Switzerland, and in 1862 he was in London.
During these trips Corot painted in the open air and filled numerous notebooks with drawings. His early oil sketches, such as those painted in Italy, were clearly defined and fresh, using bright colours in fluid strokes. During the winter months he worked in the studio on ambitious mythological and religious landscapes destined for the salon.
His reputation was established by the 1850s, which was also the period when his style became softer and his colours more restricted. In his late studio landscapes, which were often peopled with bathers, bacchantes and allegorical figures, he employed a small range of colours, often using soft coloured greys and blue-greens, with spots of colour confined to the clothing of the figures.
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. More on Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
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