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Fronia E. Wissman

(b Paris, July 17, 1796; d Paris, Feb 22, 1875).

French painter, draughtsman and printmaker.

After a classical education at the Collège de Rouen, where he did not distinguish himself, and an unsuccessful apprenticeship with two drapers, Corot was allowed to devote himself to painting at the age of 26. He was given some money that had been intended for his sister, who had died in 1821, and this, together with what we must assume was his family’s continued generosity, freed him from financial worries and from having to sell his paintings to earn a living. Corot chose to follow a modified academic course of training. He did not enrol in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but studied instead with Achille Etna Michallon and, after Michallon’s death in 1822, with Jean-Victor Bertin. Both had been pupils of Pierre-Henri Valenciennes, and, although in later years Corot denied that he had learnt anything of value from his teachers, his career as a whole shows his attachment to the principles of historic landscape painting which they professed....


Sibylle Valcke

(b Antwerp, Feb 18, 1815; d Antwerp, Aug 26, 1869).

Belgian painter. He trained with Mathieu Ignace Van Brée at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp and then with Ferdinand De Braekeleer. His earliest pictures drew on the Romantic works of Gustaf Wappers, with whom he painted a Spanish Battle Scene (1832–6; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.). He subseqently treated other typically Romantic subjects, ranging from heroic scenes of war and brigandage to scenes of daily life such as weddings and country festivals. The influence of Paul Delaroche, whom he met in Paris in 1835, is occasionally evident. From 1839 he distanced himself from the Romantic school, whose authority in Antwerp was diminishing. His painting Flemish Nuptials in the 17th Century (1839; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.) seems to herald a more sober style, an approach that more accurately reflected the national heritage. From that time onwards the desire for historical and psychological truthfulness replaced the tendency towards pathos and sentimental anecdote. In his reconstructions of 16th-century Antwerp, Leys sought to convey the spirit and atmosphere of the time. These compositions, whether of historical events—for example the ...