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Claude Lorraine

pictures, italy, morning and landscapes

CLAUDE LORRAINE (properly named CLAUDE GELET), a celebrated landscape painter, was a native of Lorraine, and b. in 1600. A relative, who traveled as a lace dealer, took C., when still a boy, to Italy, but deserted him in Rome. However, he soon found employment in grinding colors and doing other menial services for Agostino Tassi, a landscape-painter, from whom he gained some knowledge of art. Ile next studied under Godfrey Wallis at Naples, and after some time spent in wandering through various portions of Europe, he finally settled at Rome in 1627. The demand for his pictures rapidly increased, and lie received numerous commissions. C. died of gout in 1682.

C.'s landscapes are found in the chief galleries of Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, and in particular England, which, according to Dr. Waagen, contains 54 paintings by Claude. Four of his best works—the landscapes known as "Morning," "Noon, "Evening," and "Twilight"—are in the royal gallery at St. Petersburg. The painting on which C. himself set the highest value is the "Villa Madama." He kept it as a study, and refused to sell it, even when pope Clement 1X. offered for it as much gold coin as would cover the canvas. As C.'s paintings have always commanded very high prices, many copies and imitations have been imposed on buyers. This was the ease

even during the artist's life-time; for he set high prices on his works. In order to stop the fraudulent trade carried on in his name, be collected the sketches of his pictures in 6 books, to which he gave the title Libri Ventatis. They are now in the library of the duke of Devonshire.

C. was an earnest, indefatigable student of nature, and possessed great invention. No one could paint with greater beauty, brilliancy, and truth the effects of sunlight at various hours of the day, of wind or foliage, the dewy moistness of morning shadows, or the magical blending of faint and ever•fainter hues in the far horizon of an Italian sky; but it has been affirmed—especially of late—that his conception is often artificial, conven tional, and positively untrue, and it must certainly be admitted that his introduction of pseudo-Greek architecture into modern scenery is in the very worst taste. His figures are, in general, such inferior accessories, that he was wont to say he made no charge for them when he sold his pictures. In his private character, C. was amiable and very generous.