Christian Cardell Corbet was born in South Western Ontario on 31st, January. He was born into a family of rich ancestry for whom immersed themselves in both theatre and fine arts. The Corbet family was highly regarded in Guernsey Channel Island, for their vineries and quarries for which they owned. At one point in history the Corbet family owned much of the island. In the 1500's the Corbet's quarried the granite for the massive steps leading into St. Paul's Cathedral in London. By the 1800's the Corbet's were also involved in farming where they owned several substantial farms and grew tomatoes and melons. Judge Jurat Wilfred Corbet was known in Europe as the "Melon King" and later went on to being a benefactor of the Guernsey Junior Football Club for which he donated land, a building for an official clubhouse as well as a annual silver trophy. The Corbet's legacy can still be felt strongly on the island to this very day.
"L'Ancresse", home of the late Jean Thomas Corbet, Guernsey Channel Isle, today this former residence is a popular international beach hotel.
The Gould family on Christian's paternal side were theatre actors in London, England. His great grandfather Gould was in vaudeville and as a singer once performed the anthem "God Save the King" during a procession of His Majesty King George VI in front of Southwark Public Library. His great great grandmother Gould and great great aunt Florence Philbrook were both entertainers namely pianist and singer respectively who traveled across England performing. His great uncle John Gould was an artist in his own right who was once asked to join the team of artists with Walt Disney. John Gould's son Terry Gould, Christian's second cousin, was to go on to study fine arts and commercial design creating the CFL logo among other notable commercial designs that are still in use today.
Christian's grandfather on his maternal side of the family Leonard Stevens was an accomplished musician most notably for being a concert violinist who was also fluent in twelve other instruments. Christian himself was taught to play the violin by his grandfather.
By the early age of 3 Christian was exemplifying a strong ability and inclination towards drawing and creating figures that were very well advanced for his age. Seen below are four early examples of Corbet's pen drawings from age 3 years. An assessment in 1996 by L. Korhonen, Hon. BA, OT, and an early childhood specialist stated that "These early drawings by Christian Cardell Corbet at age 3 years proves that the he had very strong visual and motor skills for his age. In fact there is a definite sign from most children of the same age category to not even remotely be capable of drawing a complete box with definite lines creating any such image even that of a face until around their fifth year." Ref. "The Developmental Test of Visual, Motor and Integration".
His paternal grandparents fostered Christian's interest in drawing with his grandfather teaching him how to create commercial design on a grand scale. By the age of fourteen Christian was stricken with acute Asthma and found himself unable to participate in physical sports or activities. Christian's Grandma-ma, whom he was exceptionally close to, encouraged her grandson to continue practicing his fine art and by the age of 15 Christian received his first commercial commission for a major leading restaurant chain. By this time Corbet was living with his grandparents due to an abusive home life that his parents subjected him to. His escape came when neighbors and other family complained as to the poor treatment Christian was receiving by his mother and father. His escape to utter happiness and peace came when his Grandma-ma and Grandpa Corbet removed their grandson from his childhood home and insisted that he live with them on a permanent basis. This was to be the beginning of a very exciting and fruitful time for the budding young artist.
In 1987 Christian turned his interests to modeling and worked part time as a runway and layout model for many top designers. In 1989 Christian retired from his modeling career due to the ill health of his grandfather and spent the next several months spending precious time with him. In 1991 Christian enrolled at the University of Guelph where he studied under artist June Clark-Greenburg and commenced sculpture and painting. Still theatre was his primary interest and he had the great fortune to have the renowned Canadian playwright Judith Thompson as his professor. Three years later Christian moved to British Columbia to commence his art career which was to be a major turning point in his life.
In January of 1994 Christian set up his first studio in Vancouver and studied the works of many great local artists such as Jack Shadbolt and Bill Reid. Still Christian was caught between two and three dimensional art and found both disciplines equally enticing. Still Christian went on to practice painting with an emphasis on landscapes exploring the many influences that Western Canada had made upon him. By early 1995 Christian realized that it was not the landscape that made Canada what is but the people who inhabit the land. Christian then turned his talents to the portrait. While Christian was gearing his career towards portraiture he maintained an interest in non-objective art and created a number of works that are now in the permanent collections of both public and corporate collections across Canada.
"October Pools" mixed media on wooden crate top, 1994.
International success was achieved in the spring of 1995 when Christian's oil portrait painting entitled: "Elizabeth Holding Her Ribbon" was acquired by the late HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother . In July of that year Christian followed an invitation to present the painting at Clarence House in London. The visit to Clarence House with Christian's British cousin Susan Spraget became a private tour of the Queen Mother's important collection of art works. The success of this painting drew great attention to the artist at an international level. It is generally accepted today that Christian was the inspirational point for the renaissance of portrait art in Canada.
"Elizabeth Holding Her Ribbon", 16 x 20" oil on canvas, 1995.
At the same time Christian was undertaking a private study on the history of the portrait in Canada and while doing so realized that Canada had a strong need for a professional establishment to be created in order to promote portraiture. And on March 7th, 1996 on the occasion of his dear Grandma-ma Corbet's birthday The Canadian Portrait Academy was founded. Within a month many of Canada's leading portrait artists joined the Academy and today it stands as an important centre for portrait art profiling Canadian and international artists.
In 1998 Christian began his private study with the acclaimed Canadian portrait artist Dr. Elizabeth Bradford Holbrook, CM, RCA which continued until 2001. Since that time Christian has aided in assisting Holbrook with getting some of her artwork inducted in important collections. One such portrait sculpture was a small bronze bust of HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1998 that was acquired by the Queen and placed into the Royal Collection. By mid 1998 Christian had curated his first two exhibitions in Vancouver with the most important being the First Annual Exhibition of The Canadian Portrait Academy which was opened by a letter from Governor General Romeo Leblanc and praised by noted art historian and author Joan Murray.
Christian Cardell Corbet
With Christian's career advancing at an ever increasing rate it was determined that he would succeed even more in his career if he were to move back to Ontario and set up his studio there. Ontario has always been the mecca for the arts in Canada and with it's close proximity to Europe Christian was sure to gain even more recognition. The move has proved to be exceptionally successful and Corbet has found himself and his art being profiled at the international level. The popularity of Christian's art medals have led to his work being collected by major national museums and galleries in both North America and Europe including the Numismatic Museum Athens, Greece for which Christian is the first Canadian artist to have an art medal inducted into their permanent collection.
The new millennium has met Christian, as it should to all Aquarians, with great recognition and successful new accomplishments. Christian now regularly exhibits in Europe and has had his name inducted into numerous journals and his career can be cited in over 20 professional reference publications worldwide. Christian now divides his time painting, sculpting, writing and doing philanthropic work aiding new and upcoming Canadian artists and international charities.
Christian is currently dividing his time working as a forensic artist for the University of Western Ontario working on historical/anthropological facial reconstructions of mummies and other late subjects based on new high technology using CT and laser scans, a first in Canada and working on his own landscape and portrait art.