Born in Galati, Ressu originated from an Aromanian family that migrated to Romania from Macedonia at the start of the 19th century. His father, Constantin Ressu, who was a journalist and had studied law in Brussels, was an artist in his spare time. In 1887, Ressu was enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest. He continued his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Iasi, where he studies with painters Gheorghe Popovici and Gheorghe Panaiteanu Bardasare. In 1902, he finished his studied in Iasi, being awarded a silver medal, and left Romania for Paris, seeking to further develop his art skills. In Paris, he studied at the Academie Julian. Opera a lui: “Taran cu coasa“; “Cosasi odihnindu-se“.
In 1908, Ressu returned to Romania and became interested in social matters, contributing satirical drawings to several publications, including Furnica, Facla and Adevarul. In the same year, he became a member of the Romanian Social Democratic Party (or, rather, its surviving Bucharest circle, Socialist Union of Romania, formed around the paper Romania Muncitoare). In 1910, his works (landscapes and paintings with bucolic themes) were featured in the Artistic Youth exhibition. Ressu opened his first personal exhibition in 1914, in Bucharest. He died in Bucharest.
In 1921, he became the president of the Artists’ Union of Romania. In 1925, after a prolonged stay in the village of Ilovat, Mehedinti County, Ressu finished one of his best-known paintings, Ploughmen Resting, currently housed in the Iasi Museum of Art.
Aside from his artistic pursuits, Camil Ressu was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest until 1941. From 1950, he was the honorary president of the Artists’ Union and a professor at the Nicolae Grigorescu Art Institute. In 1955, Romania’s Communist regime awarded him the title of “People’s Artist“, and he later became a member of the Romanian Academy.