In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Claude Lorrain, “Pastoral Landscape.”
Born Claude Gellée but more popularly known as Claude Lorrain, this 17th-century artist is perhaps one of the best known landscape painters in the history of art. John Constable — another monumental landscape painter — once declared that Lorrain was “the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw,” and within his paintings, “all is lovely — all amiable — all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart.” Luckily for Lorrain, it was in the 17th century that his favored genre became accepted as serious enough for painting.
Lorrain pioneered a pre-Romantic style of landscape that focused on the majesty of nature and man’s relative insignificance within it, more commonly known as the “pastoral” landscape. Lorrain’s paintings display worlds of fields, valleys, oceans, mountains, and more. Within many of his paintings are human subjects, often imaged in small scale — a subtle strategy used to champion the landscape while highlighting man’s insignificance.
Highlighting Bonhams’ July 6 Old Master Paintings sale is an astounding original from Lorrain. “Pastoral Landscape” is a striking work and typical of the master’s style. Immediately noticeable are two figures in the foreground — a shepherd and shepherdess — who recline on a stump along the shores of a calm river. Just behind them, a ruined bridge crosses the river, which also supports a few drovers. A beautiful golden glow emanates from the canvas as well.
A painting of this quality will undoubtedly command a price worthy of its creator. Bonhams estimates the picture will realize between $800,000 and $1 million.
To view the full catalogue, visit Bonhams.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.


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