UnknownStudy of Beech Tree

Study of Beech Tree
Pencil drawing by Unknown (French School, Inscribed Corot, 19th century) (1796-1875)

Camille Corot was one of the pivotal landscape artists of the 19th Century, and a leading painter at the Barbizon school in Paris.
He was born into a bourgeois family in Paris, where his parents owned a fashion store which was a huge attraction for modern Parisians. Corot’s parents hoped that he would continue their family business, although his talent for art became apparent by the time he was 11 years old. In 1815, he went to live in the country with the Sennegon family and Monsieur Sennegon, a friend of Corot’s father, accompanied him on nature walks. It was here that he became inspired to paint rural scenes.
Corot went on to study Neo-classicism with the landscapists Achille Etna Michallon and Jean-Victor Bertin (around 1767-1842). Travelling extensively throughout Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland, he painted in the open air, filling notebooks with drawings and sketches. In Italy, Corot was moved by the architecture and fascinated by the brilliance of sunlight and vivid colour. He chose to forget all about the rules of form and composition, focusing instead on mood and atmosphere; attuning himself to the forces of nature itself. The classical studies that he produced in France and Italy allowed him to experiment with shading, corresponding to his observations concerning light. His ability for capturing the effects of light in his paintings is believed to have been a huge influence on the Impressionists, who regarded him as a teacher.