Claude Lorrain

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One of the most celebrated landscape artists of all times, Claude Lorrain’s classical style of painting has inspired generations of artists. Even today when it comes to landscape maestros everyone has Lorrain’s names on their lips. His paintings have a strong touch of the Venetian Renaissance era to them, the natural way Lorrain managed to capture the ideal landscape was unheard of or seen during those times. His paintings depict nature not as it is but as it should be in an ideal setting. His is the classic Baroque style of painting. Painters like Turner Bequest were strongly influenced by Lorrain and credit him for their own unique style of painting. Today Lorrain’s works can be found in galleries in London, Brussels, Munich, Vienna and Paris. Apart from being a painter, Lorrain was a skilled draftsman and print-maker.

Claude Lorrain was born in 1600 in Chamage, Duchy of Lorrain in northeastern France. One of five sons, after the untimely death of both his parents Lorrain moved to Germany to live with a much older brother. Initially he started off as a pastry chef in Rome and then became a studio assistant to landscape artist Agostino Tassi. Despite being French, Italy became Lorrain’s home and inspiration for much of his work. Soon his landscape sketches started evolving into his signature painting style of deep greens and blues. Some of his earlier works like Morning in the Harbor to the landscape painting of the Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca showcase his earlier style of blending lighter colors, in a livelier manner. There is a strong naturalism associated with his earlier works and every minute attention to detail in the vast landscape can be seen. One can say that Lorrain’s work was quite charming for many to see. He ended up gaining a strew of clientele well into the 18th and 19th centuries including The Pope and King Philip IV of Spain and even to this day his paintings are highly  sought after in auctions and exhibitions. Lorrain placed a lot of importance on the light in his paintings, most of his work depicted either the sunlight or dawn, never were there any dark elements associated with any of his paintings. He would often spend hours before and after the sunrise trying to meticulously study the exact rich colors of the sun in order to incorporate it precisely in his paintings. Lorrain dedicated is life to art, having never married at all during his life and living mostly with relatives or on his own.

Art historians’ state that Lorrain was a calm and serene soul – both qualities deeply found in his paintings as well – who was always there offering words of wisdom to young protégés. Some of Claude Lorrain’s mature works, which came later on in the years represent a very different style. Instead of the northern influence which could be found in his earlier works, this time around there was a strong influence of the Italianate.  The landscape gets a little more pastel in color and deeper in definition and there is a distinct level of idealism associated with his paintings.

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