Symbolism In Claude Lorrain

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While opinion and interpretation concerning the works of Claude Lorrain (1600-82) have shifted over the past three centuries, to present-day scholars, the artist is nonetheless regarded as a father of classical landscape painting. Largely recognized for his sprawling scenes of nature meeting old-world civilization, the artist masterfully juxtaposes timeless natural scenes with figures and architecture that evoke a sense of classical antiquity. While mythological themes would have been in step with the motif trends of his era, Lorrain distinguishes himself from his contemporaries as a landscape painter who seamlessly marries realistic natural scenes with fantastical narratives. Landscape with Egeria Mourning the Death of Numa [fig. 1]) is emblematic of Lorrain’s symbiosis between the natural and the civilized. And the analysis herein will demonstrate that the piece fully encapsulates the character of his most notable landscapes. Composed by a student of Claude Lorrain in the 18th century (a copy of an original 1669 work by Lorrain), this work is done in oil on canvas and depicts a scenic scape of rustic architecture nestled into lush wilderness. The color utilized in this work is both complementary and deeply contrasting. The rich, earthen colors of the shrouded forest setting and architecture juxtapose against the pale, muted sky. The sky begins at the top of the frame in the foreground as a pale magenta and subtly transitions to the background into a quiet, sunset-like
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