Claude Lorrain (Claude Gellée) (French, 1604/5?1682)
Oil on canvas; 40 x 53 1/2 in. (101.6 x 135.9 cm)
Bequest of Adele L. Lehman, in memory of Arthur Lehman, 1965 (65.181.12)
Claude's idyllic landscapes of the Roman campagna, of which this is a preeminent example, directly influenced the layout of the early eighteenth-century English landscape garden. Through Claude's work, landscape painting came to be fully appreciated as a separate artistic genre. His Roman pastures are not mere depictions of nature, however, but are filled with associations and nostalgic memories of antiquity and the bucolic life described by Virgil, aesthetic and emotional aspects shared by the eighteenth-century landscape architect. Claude's carefully arranged landscape compositions, defined by varying planes of light and dark, and by the combination of rustic scenes and classical architecture, were skillfully copied in actual garden architecture, as at Chiswick House, London (172529).