Claude Gellee

Morning in the Harbour

Morning in the Harbour
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Claude Gellee
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 74x97 cm
Origin: France, Late 1630s

Claude, a follower and admirer of Poussin, is renowned for his magnificent landscapes, the subjects of which were often seaports and harbours. Morning in the Harbour is built according to the Classical canons, with "wings" leading into the central space, where the depth of the picture is built up through the use of successive planes, and of course Classical buildings set into the landscape. But Claude introduces an element which brings all these details to life - light. The building in the foreground is gilded in the rays of the rising sun, creating a charming and picturesque play of light and shade. The obelisk and pyramids, all the majestic architecture of the middle ground, seem to be filled with air, the silvery nature of which is natural under the morning light. The artist gives us a true picture of nature as she awakes to greet the new day. Even the small figures of port workers, getting on with their prosaic job of loading and unloading, do not disrupt the harmony of the composition.

Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Collection of the Comte de Baudouin, Paris, 1781
Exibition: French Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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