Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain was neither a great man nor a lofty spirit like Poussin. His genius cannot, however, be denied and he was, like Poussin, a profoundly original inventor within the limitations of a classical ideal. He too spent most of his life in Rome though the art he created was not specifically Italian, but French. For more than two centuries afterwards everyone in France who felt called upon to depict the beauties of nature would think of Lorrain and study his works, whether it be Joseph Vernet in the eighteenth century or Corot in the nineteenth. Outside France it was the same; Lorrain was nowhere more admired than in England. There is an element of mystery in the vocation of this humble and almost illiterate peasant whose knowledge of French and Italian was equally poor, and who used to inscribe on his drawings notes in a strange broken Franco-Italian. This mystery is in some way symbolic of that with which he imbued his pictures, le mystère dans la lumière. This admirable landscapist drew from within himself the greatest number of extraordinary pictures, in which all is beauty, poetry and truth. He sometimes made from nature drawings so beautiful that several have been attributed to Poussin, but in his paintings his imagination dominates, growing in magnitude as he realised his genius. He understood by listening to Poussin and watching him paint that a sort of intellectual background would be an invaluable addition to his own imagination, visions, dreams and reveries.
found to be central to any branch of Baroque art we turn to. Painting seems to have achieved more in the exploration of this problem than any other art. To convince oneself of this, it is enough to recall the work of such leaders of the different national schools as the Carracci, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Poussin, Rubens, and Rembrandt. The Dance c. 1637 Etching, 19.2 x 25.5 cm Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow 42 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:14 AM Page 43 43 MS
instinct was awakened during a trip to Rome where he journeyed for reasons presumably having nothing to do with art. Moses Saved from the Waters of the Nile 1639-1640 Oil on canvas, 209 x 138 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid 64 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:27 AM Page 65 65 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:27 AM Page 66 In the first half of the 17th century, Rome was an artistic centre of international, rather than purely Italian, importance. All
36 cm Musée de Petit Palais, Paris 80 MS Le Lorrain 4C_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 07/12/2011 3:59 PM Page 81 81 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:36 AM Page 82 whether figures from sacred writings, Classical mythology, or epic poetry. They are a fixed set of natural features, thehigh Heaven, the green Earth, and the great Sea stretching away into the luminous distance. Nearly all of Claude’s known paintings really depict the encounters, always attended by the Sun, of
perspective foreshortening to achieve an illusion of distance. All the lines tend to strain towards Group of Trees on a Riverbank c. 1640-1645 Brush drawing in varying shades of brown wash over black chalk, 18.2 x 26.8 cm Teylers Museum, Haarlem 88 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:37 AM Page 89 89 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:38 AM Page 90 a common point at the back of the picture, but lose their distinctness as they recede, and altogether
with silhouettes offar-off mountains, crags rising on the coast, towers, lighthouses, and white sails. These features compose the three planes inherent in Claude’s compositional scheme, View of the Tiber near the Torre di Quinto 1640-1645 Brush drawing in brown wash with pen and brown ink, 24.5 x 39.8 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris 108 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:46 AM Page 109 109 MS Le Lorrain_FRE_A ok_23 Nov 2011.qxp 06/12/2011 11:47 AM Page 110 which also