Corot was born in 1796 in Paris. A pupil of Achille Etna Michallon (1796-1822) and Jean-Victor Bertin (1775-1842), A first study trip to Italy 1825-1828 was of crucial importance for his development. He was an inveterate traveller, visiting Italy two more times in 1834 and in 1843 and making many tours of France. He also visited Switzerland, Holland and London.In the 1840s, Corot became a successful and widely recognized painter. His style changed away from an experimental neo-classicism towards a more atmospheric style in the following decade.
Corot internationally famous as a landscape painter but he also painted portraits, history paintings and genre paintings. Trained in the Neo-classical tradition, he painted he based his large-scale works on fresh open-air studies (much admired by later critics and collectors). While these sketches were intended for his personal use, they formed the basis for more finished scenes for exhibition, many of which have biblical, literary or mythological themes.Corot contributed regularly to the Salon from 1827 throughout his entire career.He considered his portraits as private works and did not exhibit them. To his instinctive grasp of tonal values and composition he added an evocative elegiac mood in later years which won him popular success.
Corot was an extremely productive painter, and many problems of attribution still surround his work.