Claude Gellee

Landscape with Dancing Figures

Landscape with Dancing Figures
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Claude Gellee
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 102x134 cm
Origin: France, 1669

Until nearly the mid-1630s, Lorrain's paintings did not have a very clear subject. Most commonly they were simple and unpretentious genre scenes and pastorals which were characteristic of French and Italian landscape painting at the start of the 17th century.

In the Landscape with Dancers, the artist used his favourite motif of a herd of cattle returning from pasture and crossing a stream. In the distance he has depicted a bridge and on the hill we see a rural villa. Further on there is a broad plain with a river, hills and structures. In the foreground there are the figures of dancing peasants who are waiting for the herd and the shepherds and shepherdesses resting in the shade of the trees. The mild, warm light of the evening sun envelops the figures. Everything around is imbued with the calm of a peaceful evening.

The painting is a reproduction of the artist's earlier work entitled Landscape with a Country Dance from the collection of Count Yarborough and differs from it only in details. Several of the personages remind us of peasants depicted in the Landscape with a Country Dance in the Uffizi, Florence.

Lorrain's canvas draws our attention due to the artist's very special view of nature. His paintings and the works of several other 17th-century landscape artists have been described as "ideal landscapes". In the world of his painting, there is no place for raging elements: storms, lightning and thunder, floods. Nothing disturbs the harmony and peace which, it seems, have always reigned over the part of nature which the great master imagined and captured on canvas.

Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Stroganov Palace Museum, Leningrad, 1930
Exibition: French Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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