Claude Gellée, dit le Lorrain, Le dessinateur face à la nature
directed by Carel van Tuyl van Serooskerken and Michiel C. Plomp
We all know Claude, aka le Lorrain, and of course his large landscapes or the ports under a beating sun. We hardly know his drawings, which he is said to never like to be separated from, even when asked by higher instances (a letter to cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in 1662 proves this). The catalogue that accompanies the exhibition at the Louvre (based on the collection of the Parisian museum and that of the Teylers museum in Harlem, the oldest public museum in the Netherlands) shows us a very wealthy fund. The artist was fascinated by tree trunks, leafage, clumps of grass and rendered them with remarkable science. Le Lorrain had great control of various sophisticated techniques, and played with his knowledge of the supports (ivory or blue paper, fluted paper, etc) and instruments (black stone, Cumberland graphite, brown ink). The analysis shows he used watermarks in his compositions and knew how to foresee oxidation of metallo-gallic inks (brown but turning to black with time). A real subject for meditation: how, three centuries before the computer and Illustrator, could he produce such a variety of effects?
Review published in the newsletter #222 - from 23 June 2011 to 29 June 2011