- Museum number
Coast scene with Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl, illustration from Virgil's 'Aeneid', VI, 260-3, record of painting (whereabouts unknown) from the Liber Veritatis; in foreground the two figures walking towards a cave at l, in background an idealized view of Lake Avernus, with the Bay of Baiae beyond it. 1673
Pen and brown ink and grey wash, with brown wash, heightened with white, on blue paper
- Production date
Height: 192 millimetres
Width: 255 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See 1957,1214.6 for information on the Liber Veritatis.
The luminosity of this drawing was achieved through the careful application of layers of wash in the foreground and swathe of increasingly intense white heightening in the distance. The simplicitiy of the compositon further increases this depiction of a setting sun which serves as the backdrop to an episode taken from Virgil’s Aeneid. Claude had referred to this Classical text continually across his career, but this is the only occasion on which he depicted the meeting between Aeneas and the Cumean Sibyl as his proceeded towards the underworld (Book VI, 260–3). The originiality of the scene might be attributed to Claude’s own increasingly personal works in the years surrounding 1670. This is demonstrated by Claude’s development of the scene across several drawings, the earliest of which dates to 1669 (for which see Roethsliberger 1968, nos. 993–997 & 1062). The painting that these drawings were made in preparation for was commissioned by Cardinale Falconieri, but is now lost (canvas, 111 x 158 cm; Roethlisberger 1986, no. 259. Comparison, however, with its pendant of LV180 (for which see 1957,1214.186) indicates that it would have measured circa 111 x 158 cm.
Lit: M. Roethlisberger, Claude Lorrain, The Paintings, London 1961, LV174, pp. 431–433; M. Roethlisberger, ‘Claude Lorrain. The Drawings’, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1968, no. 1063; M. Kitson, ‘Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis’, London 1978, no. 183; Claude Lorrain: Dessins du British Museum, ex. cat., Paris, Musée du Louvre, 1978–79 (Paris, 1978), no. 94; M. Roethlisberger, ‘Tout l’ouevre peint de Claude Lorrain’, Paris, 1986, no. 259; 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, fg. 127, pp.184-188; J. Rauser in exhib. cat. (ed. by A. Stolzenburg & D. Klemm), Hamburg, Kunsthalle, ‘Das Licht der Campagna. Die Zeichnungen Claude Lorrains im British Museum’, 2017–18, no. 85, pp.242-243.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis
1978/9 Oct-Jan, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 'Claude Lorrain', no. 94
1984 BM, Landscape in Italy, no. 63
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:...'
2017 - 2018 13 Oct-14 Jan, Hamburg: Das Licht der Campagna. Die Zeichnungen Claude Lorrains im British Museum, London
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Aeneid
- 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