Ink and Light

Ink and Light: The Influence of Claude Lorrain's Etchings on England

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Ink and Light
    Book Description:

    Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), an eminent seventeenth-century landscape painter, was an equally talented graphic artist. Lorrain's etchings match the mastery and execution of his paintings and yet are largely unrecognized by contemporary collectors and art historians. Andrew Brink, an astute and discriminating art collector, amassed an impressive collection of etchings, engravings, and mezzotints by European master printmakers from the sixteenth century onwards. The keystone works in the Brink Collection, now housed in Guelph, Ontario's Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, are by Claude Lorrain. In Ink and Light, Brink positions Lorrain's prints as seminal to the establishment of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century aesthetics in England, which gave rise to the English pictorialism in art and landscape architecture that would have international influence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He discusses the technical and material character of Lorrain's etchings, as well as their connection to literature and philosophy in early modern times. While Brink's main focus is the impact of the etchings, he also looks at paintings and drawings by Lorrain, in addition to works made by other artists after Lorrain. Featuring forty of Claude Lorrain's etchings from the Brink Collection, Ink and Light fills a significant gap in British art history by providing a close reading of Lorrain's prints, their reception in England, and the enduring impact they had on a distinctive British aesthetic.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8931-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE Fiat lux, or let there be light
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. ONE Claude Lorrain’s Etchings in England
    (pp. 3-64)

    Claude Gellée le Lorrain (circa 1604/5–1682) is the celebrated seventeenth-century founder of landscape painting, best known for his Italian pastorals and harbour scenes. Together with Nicolas Poussin and Salvator Rosa, Claude painted nature and antiquity in the glow of Italian dawns and dusks. Classical and Christian themes are set in landscapes suffused with preternatural light. Dramas of human interaction occur in natural and architectural settings devised to draw viewers into wonder and enchantment. Whereas Poussin’s classicism is severely intellectual and Rosa’s wild and romantic, Claude’s resonates with gentler associations from Virgil and Ovid, set in closely observed nature. His...

  6. TWO Claudian Architecture
    (pp. 65-70)

    The Claudian aesthetic profoundly affected English landscape design and architectural style. The arts were so intertwined that it is essential to notice large-scale attempts to harmonize the visual results of Claude’s way of seeing nature with the very design of structures in their English settings. While painters were freed to see nature in all its beguiling freshness, architects also saw new ways of visually enriching buildings and landscapes. Had not the poet Alexander Pope urged an Horatian “beatus ille” view of the “happy man” content in his small house and large garden, mercifully free of the engorged city? At Twickenham,...

  7. THREE Original and Reproductive Prints
    (pp. 71-84)

    The range of Claude’s achievement as a draughtsman and painter, from Claude’s own etchings to commercial prints reproducing his designs, is quite exceptional. No other seventeenth-century landscape painter inspired so much effort to disseminate images to an eager public. The initial effort was Claude’s own, followed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with English examples of his reproductive prints, which were produced to satisfy a burgeoning market for images of idealized nature and related subjects. This activity asserts England’s key place in advancing the Claudian aesthetic, as Italian and French prints after Claude are fewer and sometimes not of comparable...

  8. FOUR Themes in the Etchings
    (pp. 85-120)

    What themes in Claude’s etchings would have been accessible to his contemporary viewers that may need elucidating today? There are four main categories for discussion: the journey by sea and on land, shepherding, dancing, and light. By using contemporary sources, each of these can be brought into better focus in a world where traditional images and archetypes have become obscure. Claude drew upon a fund of shared classical and biblical imagery familiar to his audience. They would not have needed to decipher them, only noting the variations and special emphasis by this particular artist. In other words, Claude’s etchings, belonging...

  9. Biographical Essentials
    (pp. 121-124)
  10. List of Works
    (pp. 125-136)
  11. Collecting Claude
    (pp. 137-142)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 143-150)
  13. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 151-156)
  14. Index
    (pp. 157-160)