Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Claude Lorrain

Seaport (1674)

Claude Lorrain, traditionally just Claude in English (also Claude Gellée, his real name, or in French Claude Gellée, dit le Lorrain) (c. 1600 – 21 or 23 November 1682) was an artist of the Baroque era who was active in Italy, and is admired for his achievements in landscape painting.

Landscape with Apollo and Mercury (1645)

Claude was born in 1604 or 1605 into poverty in the town of Chamagne, Vosges in Lorraine – then the Duchy of Lorraine, an independent state until 1766 and now in northeast France. He was one of five children. His actual name was Claude Gellée, but he is better known by the province in which he was born. Orphaned by age of twelve, he went to live at Freiburg with an elder brother, Jean Gellée, a woodcarver. He afterwords went to Rome to seek a livelihood and then to Naples, where he apprenticed for two years, from 1619 to 1621, under Goffredo (Gottfried) Wals.

I found a perfect website about Claude Lorrain, it has a complete biography and all of his beautiful paintings.

I think that his paintings are simply lovely. I love how quiet they are, it may sound strange, but there is very little sound in the paintings and if there is, it is soft, quiet sounds like the lapping of the ocean water in his many paintings of harbors and sea ports (I love the buildings in those ones), or the sweet notes of Apollo's fiddle and the patter of Hermes's feet (he is actually stealing Apollo's cattle, for those that do not know the story.) in the painting Landscape with Apollo and Mercury.

The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba (1648)

This painting, The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba, is my favorite of Claude Lorrain's paintings and the first one I ever saw.

I agree with John Constable who 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".

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