In 1846, when a painting by an artist named Camille Corot's led to his receiving the highest award given to French artists, his father, who had always considered him little more than an amiable good-for-nothing, remarked that "...maybe the boy had some talent after all." By then the "boy" was fifty years old. Of course Corot had been forty before he sold his first painting at which time the father had pretended distress, complaining that no longer did he have a complete collection of Corot's work. To his credit, Corot's father had supported his artist-son all his life, so perhaps the "old man" had good reason to be surprised at such a distinguished award.
Jean Baptiste Camille Corot was born in Paris over his mother's millinery shop in 1796. He was an unexceptional student and when he announced his desire to be a painter his father was at first horrified. But, reluctantly, he decided to give "the boy" a chance, though not expecting much. He noted that he was good only for "having fun". Years later, Corot agreed with his father's assessment: "My whole life I painted and had fun."
|Ville de Avray, 1865|