Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

The Artist's Mother (Marie Françoise Oberson, 1769 - 1851) (About 1835 - 1840)

About this artwork

Corot’s mother Marie Françoise was born in Switzerland. Along with her husband Louis-Jacques Corot, she ran a milliner's shop in the Rue du Bac in Paris, where Corot and his sister were brought up. The business was extremely successful and afforded the young Corot considerable financial independence when he decided to pursue a career as a painter. Corot was devoted to his mother, referring to her as ‘la belle dame’ (the beautiful lady). He later spent all his evenings with her when he was in Paris until her death in 1851 (aged 82). Judging from her clothing and hairstyle in this picture, it was probably painted around 1835-40, when she would have been in her late-sixties.

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot

Corot's landscapes developed from the classical landscape tradition and strongly influenced the young Impressionists. He trained in his native Paris, having persuaded his parents that his future was with painting rather than the family textile business. In 1825 he travelled to Italy and made many drawings and oil sketches in the open air in and around Rome. These are remarkable for their naturalism and sensitivity to tone as well as colour. His finished paintings were carefully worked up in the studio. From the 1850s he developed a softer style, using grey-green tones which proved very popular with nineteenth-century collectors in France and Britain.