- Museum number
Landscape with dancing figures ('The Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca' or 'The Mill'), record of paintings in London and Rome from the Liber Veritatis; in foreground at right figures watching a pair dance, at left animals, and beyond boats on a stretch of water
Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, on blue paper
- Production date
Height: 200 millimetres
Width: 260 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See 1957,1214.6 for information on the Liber Veritatis.
The rendering of this scene is somewhat surprising in its clumsiness, with the ink and white heightening obscuring the pen lines. This is surprising in the context of the complexity of the commission that this drawing records. Two paintings are known to exist: one in the National Gallery dated 1648 (inv. no. 12; Roethlisberger 1986, no.180) and the other dateable to crcia 1648 in the Galleria Doria-Pamphilj (Roethlisberger 1986, no. 181). The former painting has an inscription identifying the subject as the Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, while the latter can simply be described as another iteration of Claude’s favoured subject of a Country Dance. Both paintings, and their pendants (respectively LV114, Queen of Sheba and LV119, View of Delphi) are among the most grandiose that Claude produced in the 1640s. This can be explained by their commission by Prince Pamphilj – the first painting, thought commissioned by the Prince, actually ending up in the possession of the Duke of Bouillon, while it was only the second that ended up being for Pamphilj. Both paintings have a pendant; respectively LV114, Queen of Sheba and LV119, View of Delphi. The order in which the two paintings were produced in relation to the record in the Liber Veritatis remains unclear, with minor differences between them and the present drawing suggesting that Claude worked from both paintings in order to make the entry in the Liber.
Three further drawings appear to have been preparatory to these commissions. The first is a Landscape with St John the Baptist and Angels, which is only preparatory in the respect that the landscape anticipates that of the present drawing (see BM inv. no. Oo,6.129; Roethlisberger 1968, no. 647). Another landscape, also in the BM (inv. no. Oo,7.156; Roethlisberger 1968, no. 648) is similarly comparable to that of LV113. Third is a sheet in the Musee Bonnat in Bayonne (inv. no. 220; Roethlisberger 1968, no. 649) which is a figure study that can be related to the dancing figures.
Lit: M. Roethlisberger, Claude Lorrain, The Paintings, London 1961, LV113, pp. 279–85; M. Roethlisberger, ‘Claude Lorrain. The Drawings’, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1968, no. 650; M. Kitson, ‘Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis’, London 1978, no. 113; M. Roethlisberger, ‘Tout l’oevure peint de Claude Lorrain’, Paris, 1986, nos. 180 & 181; R. Rand, in exhib. cat., San Francisco, Legion of Honor and Williamstown (MA), Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 'Claude Lorrain - The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum', 2007, fig. 85, pp.135–136.
The below taken from Kitson 1978 for further discussion.
(1) London, National Gallery, No. 12. Canvas, 149 x 197 cm; inscribed on a tree-stump in the middle, ‘MARI[AGE]/DISAC/AVEC/REBECA’ and signed and dated at the bottom right, ‘CLAVDIO. G.L. (perhaps over ‘GILLE’) I.N.V. ROMAE 1648 F.’. M. Davies, National Gallery Catalogues: French School, 2nd ed., 1957, pp. 35-42, No. 12; RP, fig. 196; R-C, 180. The buyer of this painting is shown by an inscription on the pendant, LV 114, and by the provenance, to have been the Duc de Bouillon. The title, The Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, is solely indicated by the inscription and may not apply to the second painting below. It does not correspond to any episode in the Bible and is not borne out by anything in the actions or costumes of the figures. As it is written in French it was presumably added for the Duc de Bouillon, when the picture was almost finished.
(2) Rome, Galleria Doria-Pamphilij. Canvas, 150 x 200 cm; traces of an illegible signature and date. RP, fig. 197; MK in catalogue of the exhibition, L’Ideale Classico del Seicento in Italia e la Pittura di Paesaggio, Bologna, 1962, No. 97; R-C, 181. The provenance of this painting shows that it was the version owned by Camillo Pamphili. In the absence of any inscription giving a title it is usually from the buildings in the left middle distance as The Mill.
To explain the relationship of these two paintings to the Liber Veritatis drawing it is necessary to consider them together and also to take in account their respective pendants: LV 114 (Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba), also in the National Gallery, and LV 119 (View of Delphi with a Procession), also in the Galleria Doria-Pamphilij. The central paradox, first noticed by Martin Davies in a long catalogue entry (loc. cit.) which began the modern study of the Liber Veritatis, is that drawing No. 113 is inscribed (twice) with the name of Prince Camillo Pamphilij, who owned the version of the painting in Rome, yet was executed largely if not wholly (Davies says wholly) from the picture in the National Gallery. The two pictures are extremely alike but the Rome version differs from the London one and from the Liber Veritatis drawing in certain small particulars. These are the substitution of a rock in the centre for the tree-stump bearing the inscription; the raising of the line of the river bank in the centre, so that it runs just above the head of the man leaning on a stick instead of level with his shoulders (it also runs correspondingly further above the two walking figures and behind the raised arm of the woman with the tambourine): the lowering of the line of the distant hill on the right, so that it runs below, not above, the top of building in front of it; and the substitution of a comparatively large dead brunch jutting out from the tree at the right, extending over much of the town behind, for a much smaller branch at this point.
Yet while the drawing follows the National Gallery in picture in these respects, in the outlines of the trees it seems rather to imitate the one in Rome, leading to the suspicion that Claude may have worked from both versions, as he sometimes did when making second drawings after paintings (cf. LV 13). However, this is a difficult point, and the similarities in the trees to the Rome version, where the foliage is fuller and more rounded than in the National Gallery painting, may be due to the chance. It may be added here for the sake of completeness, though the question does not directly bear on the Liber Veritatis, that the two paintings are not identical in execution. The Rome version is darker in tone and firmer in handling, with harder edges to the forms, all of which produce a more powerful effect, and the same is true of the respective pendants.
How is the discrepancy between the drawing and the inscription to be resolved? Whatever the solution, it seems certain that Claude began the composition of LV 113 for Pamphilij, since a preliminary drawing in Bayonne (RD, 649), dated 1647, is described on the verso as being precisely that, i.e. the ‘pancé du taublau du prince panfille’. It is also highly probable that the two paintings, since they are so alike, were executed at least in part at the same time, and indeed the Duc de Bouillon no doubt ordered his version before he left Rome in May 1647. What happened during the later part of 1647 and 1648 is less certain, but something on the lines first suggested by Röthilisberger (RP, pp. 280f) may be correct; that is to say, the National Gallery picture, having been completed and recorded in the Liber Veritatis for Pamphilij, was then switched, together with LV 114, to the Duc de Bouillon, because Pamphilij had withdrawn temporarily from the commission (in 1647 he had renounced his Cardinalate in order to marry and was consequently banished for a time from the papal court). Then, still according to this theory, Pamphilij renewed the commission in or about 1649 and Claude completed the Rome version of LV 113 for him, adding a new pendant, LV 119 (which is dated 1650).
What remains puzzling is Claude’s different treatment of the ‘record’ of the two paintings in the National Gallery. As we have seen, he left Pamphilij’s name on the verso of drawing No. 113 although he might have been expected to correct it when the picture was bought by Bouillon (indeed, Claude may have written ‘Pamphili’ at least once after the transfer to Bouillon had been carried out, for it is not certain that he was yet writing the inscriptions at the same time as the drawings were made). With LV 114, on the other hand, having first written, ‘Pamphili’, he then did cross it out and substitute ‘Bouillon’, but took care to state, uniquely, on the painting that he had ‘made’ it for Bouillon, as if Pamphilij had never been involved (for particulars of the inscriptions on the drawing and painting of LV 114, see the next entry). Clearly there is no way of rationalizing this entirely, but I am inclined to believe that, despite the switching of the paintings, Claude still regarded drawing No. 113 as referring to the picture for Pamphilij, since it was he who had given the commission and he for whom Claude had devised the composition.
Earlom, 113; Caracciolo, 3 (after the painting in the Galleria Doria-Pamphilij, not after the Liber Veritatis drawing or after Earlom).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis
2000/1 Dec-April, London, Tate Britain, 'Pure as Italian Air...'
2006/7 Oct-Jan, San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 'Claude Lorrain:...'
2007 Feb-April, Williamstown, Clark Art Institute, 'Claude Lorrain:...'
2007 May-Aug, Washington, Nat Gall of Art, 'Claude Lorrain:...'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Accepted by H M Government in lieu of tax on the estate of the 9th Duke of Devonshire.
See M. Kitson's 'Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis', pp. 28-9, for a full account of the provenance of the sketch-book.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number