Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Country Dance, a drawing

Italy, AD 1640-41

This is a neat pen and brown ink drawing with brown and grey washes. Goats and cattle drink at a pool in the foreground. They are broadly brushed in with dark ink. Their reflections are drawn in the water. Behind is a wild and rocky area lit by the white of the paper. Framed by several large trees with full foliage, the figures dance and make music while their herds graze or rest. To the right two goats fall off the cliff, unnoticed by the dancing figures in the centre whose long shadows indicate the end of the day. In the background, framed by a bushy tree in the middleground, a castle with towers, a bridge and a coastline lead the eye to the light of the setting sun. Dark clouds fill the rest of the sky.

This is a detailed record of Claude's painting of a country dance (1640-1, Woburn Abbey). The drawing is part of the Liber Veritatis ('Book of Truth'), a sketchbook of drawings acquired by The British Museum in 1957. In this book, Claude made sketches of the compositions of his paintings. His purpose was to guard against forgeries of his work as well as to record his paintings.

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More information


D. Russell, Claude Lorrain (Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, 1982)

M. Roethlisberger, Claude Lorrain: the drawings, 2 vols. (University of California Press, 1968)

J.J.L. Whiteley, Claude Lorrain: drawings from, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)

M. Kitson, Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritati (London, The British Museum Press, 1978)


Height: 198.000 mm
Width: 265.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1957-12-14-59



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