Landscape with a Shepherd and Shepherdess
Oil on canvas
Purchased through gifts from Peter and Kirsten Bedford and Julia and Richard H. Rush, Class of 1937, and through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund, the Guernsey Center Moore 1904 Memorial Fund, and the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; purchased through gifts by exchange from Mr. Richard Andrew Aishton, Class of 1918, in memory of Mrs. Kate Aishton Mecur; Ralph Sylvester Bartlett; Mrs. Frank U. Bell; Mr. and Mrs. Paul S. Cantor, Class of 1960; Mrs. Moses Dyer Carbee; Professor Bernard Grebanier; Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H; Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Lachman; Bella C. Landauer; Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. McGoughran, Class of 1920; Richard H. Mandel, Class of 1926; Earle W. Newton; Mr. and Mrs. Klaus Penzel; Anton Adolph Raven; Eleanor St. George; Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Schweitzer; Mr. and Mrs. John F. Steeves, Class of 1911; George C. Stoddard, Class of 1918; Howard Swift, Class of 1952; Mr. and Mrs. Jesse D. Wolff, Class of 1935; Dr. Myron Wright, Class of 1937, and through the Julia L. Whittier Fund and the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Fund; P.989.21
Claude, known as Le Lorrain after the duchy in which he was born, greatly influenced landscape painting during his lifetime and well into the nineteenth century through his paintings and over thirteen hundred drawings. Apparently in response to an increasing number of forgeries, Claude began preparing pen and brown ink wash drawings in the mid-1630s that recorded the pictures he sold, often annotated with information about patrons and dates. The sheets were bound together in his Liber Veritatis, or “Book of Truth” (now in the British Museum), which later served as a partial register of his painted oeuvre—a virtually unique instance of an artist creating his own illustrated catalogue. High-quality prints after the drawings in the album later appeared in a two-volume set produced by Richard Earlom (1743-1822).
As indicated in the Liber Veritatis (LV 7), the present painting was created for shipment to Paris with no mention of a specific client. It was long considered to have been lost, until it emerged in the English art market in 1980 from a private collection, where it had resided since the eighteenth century. While the composition includes the Temple of the Sibyl in Tivoli, the work does not depict a specific site. Claude made various studies from life in the countryside around Rome and Tivoli in the early 1630s, including one of the Temple of the Sibyl now at the Morgan Library. The temple also appears prominently in earlier landscape paintings now in Melbourne and Bowhill.
Marcel Roethlisberger suggested that this painting may be a pendant for LV 6 (1983), a port harbor scene that is now lost but is known through the artist’s drawing, an enlarged copy dated 1636, and the Earlom print. The original, traceable until 1870, had the same dimensions as the painting in the Hood’s collection, and, according to his handwritten notations on the back of each sheet, Claude sent both works to Paris. The paintings may well have been intended to contrast morning (sunrise) with late afternoon (sunset), urban with country, and sea with land. They were reminiscent of the harbor and countryside of the future golden age in Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue, though they did not visually transcribe the Roman poet’s description. Claude’s extraordinary talent in synthesizing the Venetian and recent Bolognese landscape traditions with the vivid naturalism of northern European painters resulted in a personal voice that was eminently consonant with the poetic interests of his time. The Hood’s painting produces its own visual poetry, reflecting a taste for pastoral subject matter that permeated the period.
Last Updated: 1/21/10