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Claude Lorrain (aka Claude Gelee)

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Claude Lorrain
Baroque (1600-1750) Painting
(Chamagne, Lorraine, France, 1604 - November 23, 1682, Rome, Italy)

Claude Lorraine was a very prolific painter, and is often considered the greatest of ideal landscape painters. He was born of peasants Jean and Anne (or Idatte) Gellée in the village of Champagne, then in the independent duchy of Lorraine. Due to an inaccurate inscription, his birth date was long believed to be 1600, but it is now believed to be 1604. His early training is uncertain, but it seems as if he went to Rome at age 13 or so, perhaps as a pastry cook, and then probably went to Naples, where he studied painting. He was highly regarded as an artist. His landscapes depict an image of nature more beautiful and better ordered than nature itself, often including pastoral scenes with shepherds guarding their flocks. He refined the theme, first seen in Venetian painting around 1510, by using light as the principal means both of unifying the composition and of lending beauty to the landscape. His popular works embodied the courtly values of high finish and decorum; among his most important patrons were members of the European nobility and higher clergy. (J. Paul Getty Trust)


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