Claude Lorrain, The Tiber from Monte Mario, a drawing

Italy, about AD 1640-50

This brush drawing is made on white paper, with tonal variety provided only through the liquid wash. It is a remarkable view of the countryside outside Rome, and one of Claude's most remarkable drawings. The view has been identified as taken from the hill above the Ponte Molle (the ancient Milvian Bridge), not far from another favourite site, the Villa Madama.

The artist looked back towards Rome, along the route of the River Tiber, shown as a patch of pure white paper, framed by dark and light washes. Trees cast darker shadows or reflections, suggested in wash. Then a lighter wash is applied, merging with the darker wash to produce a mysterious quality. The different shapes of tree foliage are modelled in pure dark wash, framed either by the white of the paper or lighter tones of other wash. The mountains rise in the background, drawn in a more atmospheric and finer technique. Their slopes are indicated by thinner wash and speckled with light.

This is one of the best examples of Claude drawing outside in the open air, with no other purpose than to record the effects of light and shade in nature, but the drawing was never used for one of his painted landscapes.

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More information

Bibliography

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)

A.M. Hind, Catalogue of the drawings of C (London, 1926)

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

Dimensions

Height: 185.000 mm
Width: 268.000 mm

Museum number

PD Oo.7-212

PDO1441

Bequeathed by R. Payne Knight

Location

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