on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

History of Art and Landscape – Part Four

Claude Lorrain

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Continuing our look at the history of landscape, I was looking for the next significant artists or art after the Dutch Golden Age, which I talked about in the previous article. In most of the books on art that I’ve seen, Claude ‘Lorrain’ Gellée gets mentioned repeatedly as the artist who raised landscape painting up to be considered a significant art form and who gets ‘rediscovered’ during the romantic period by Constable, Gainsborough, Turner, etc.
If you'd like to take a look at these three previous article, the links are here:-

If you'd like to take a look at these two articles the links are here :-

Issue 215 - Part One - The Foundations
Issue 220 - Part Two - The Birth of Landscape
Issue 253 - Part Three - The History of Art and Landscape, Dutch Golden Age


Claude Lorrain’s legacy can be summarised as a perfecting of the ‘ideal landscape’. Inspired by the best of the Italian landscape, he created scenes with immersive, divine light and exquisite balance. Constable said he was “The most perfect landscape painter the world has ever seen". But I wanted to know how he became so influential through the age, even today.

Claude 'Lorrain' Gellée (1604-1682)

Claude C Face Half

A little background first. Claude’s full name is Claude Gellée, but he was named from his birth place, Lorraine in France. He was born around 1600 and was orphaned at the age of twelve and subsequently went to live with his older brother, who was himself an artist in inlay work and probably taught Claude some sketching. However, his first trade was as a pâtissiers (mmm, cake) and his move to Italy, when he was around 16/17, was on the back of this skill where he was employed by Goffredo Wals and then Agostino Tassi, who made him an apprentice. Both Wals and Tassi were landscapists, Wals on small scenes and Tassi on larger frescoes.

When he was around 21, he returned to France to become an apprentice to the Duke of Lorraine but shortly moved back to Rome, where he remained for the rest of his life.

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