Claudio fecit sopra il lac di Bracciano
Claude Gellée (1600-1682), meglio noto come Claude Lorrain è stato un pittore francese molto attivo a Roma: oggi è considerato il maestro del genere paesaggio ideale.
In the Claude drawing of the Lake of Bracciano the charm of the pattern insists itself upon us at once, but presently we become aware of a more complicated system of structural composition in the realisation of the shrubs and grasses in the foreground with the beautifully conceived row of darker trees beyond; at first sight words like charming, slight, effective, delicate, come to mind; one feels that the fluent pencil of the artist in tracing the contours of the scene, had written down “this thing is perfect”. It is only after an interval, however brief, that one associates the thought of structure, of depth, of power and of greatness with the drawing – as apart, of course, from the subject depicted, which may easily have any of these qualities. An amusing study of this interesting drawing can be made by a comparison with a photograph of the exact scene wich happens to exist in Sante Bargellini, Etruria Meridionale, which demonstrates very beautifully how Claude interpreted his subject and based his design upon the great V-shaped contour of the hills and the little V-shaped arrangement of the foreground and the third and still smaller V-shaped line of the lake bank connecting these two main masses. This was his favourite, almost his invariable starting point when sketching, though no doubt the evident haste with which the drawing was made – which probably accounts for the slighly perfunctory and mechanical treatment of some of the ridges of the hills, enables one to note the characteristic with less of an effort than usual. It is noticeable that in this, as in almost every work of Claude, even those including figures, a stillness reigns over all; nothing ever moves; no tree so much as stirs. This is a characteristic of much French art, both that of the distant past and of our own day.