Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, “A Rising Path” (circa 1845)

10 Jun

Corot, who is recognized as one of the main progenitors of Impressionism, had a particularly strong influence on Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro.  He began as a member of the Barbizon School but was very open to new ideas.  A Rising Path was painted in about 1845 — nearly thirty years before the first “official” Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874 — and if this isn’t Impressionism then I don’t know what is!

Corot is nearly as famous for his generosity as he is for his art.  He frequently allowed his students to sign his name to their work to help them make sales and earn a living.  Corot is one of the most forged artists in history — the joke goes that of the 3,000 known works of Corot, 8,500 may be found in the United States alone.

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3 Responses to “Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, “A Rising Path” (circa 1845)”

  1. Dutch Dutchman June 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Interesting stuff. In your view, what are the main identifying characteristics of Impressionism?

  2. bobbalouie June 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Hey bud, thanks for posting! And for helping me set up the site. I think it looks really great. Here’s a Wikipedia summary of Impressionism that I generally agree with:

    “Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time); common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles. The development of Impressionism in the visual arts was soon followed by analogous styles in other media which became known as Impressionist music and Impressionist literature.”

    To me it’s the looseness of the composition, the visible brush strokes and concern for the accurate representation of light that are key. By the mid-1800’s there was an art “establishment” that insisted on adherence to a lot of conventions about proper subject matter and technique. Landscape per se was considered a low brow subject. To the traditionalists, landscape was merely a backdrop to paintings featuring nymphs at play, stylized historical events, etc. Traditionalist technique involved using thin, flat, invisible brushstrokes applied in a painstaking manner. Anyway — art was dying under the load of all this convention. The original Impressionists intentionally set out to break free of all this. “Impressionism” is a term originally coined by the traditionalists as a satiric jab at the new art form. I believe it was first used to poke fun at a painting by Claude Monet.

  3. Dutch Dutchman June 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Very interesting. I had not known about the “visible brush strokes” being a part of the definition. Makes sense, though. I guess it’s probably my favorite style of painting, but I don’t know much about it.

    Maybe you should bring back nymphs at play.

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