Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lorrain, Claude

Landschaft mit Apollo und Merkur (Landscape with Apollo Guarding the Herds of Admetus and Mercury stealing them)
oil on canvas
55 × 45 cm
The Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome, Italy

"Claude Lorrain knew the real world by heart, down to its minute details. He used it as a means of expressing the harmonious universe of his soul." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Claude Lorrain (also Claude Gellee or Le Lorrain) (c.1600-1682) was an French artist of the Baroque era who was active in Italy, and is admired for his achievements in landscape painting.
Claude was born into poverty as a peasant's son, in the Duchy of Lorraine and was orphaned by age of twelve, but left around 1612 for Germany, then Rome, where he became a studio assistant to the landscape painter.

Claude painted a pastoral world of fields and valleys not distant from castles and towns. John Constable described Claude as "the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw", and declared that in Claude’s landscape "all is lovely - all amiable - all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart". Claude exerted considerable influence on landscape artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. The English painter Turner was especially indebted to Claude, and tried to outdo his grand compositions. In life and long after his death, Claude influenced landscape painting and garden design, through his paintings and over 1,300 drawings.