- Museum number
Trees in Vigna Madama; a large oak tree overgrown with ivy, others beyond. c.1638
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over graphite
Verso: Trees (traced through from recto), red chalk
- Production date
- 1638 (circa)
Height: 330 millimetres
Width: 224 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- As Claude's inscription tells us, this sheet was made in the grounds of Villa Madama, just outside Rome, situated half way up the slope of Monte Mario. Claude's inscription describes the location as a 'vigna', a vineyard, around which the villa was built for Cardinal Giulio de' Medici (cousin of Pope Leo X). The initial architectural design was by Raphael (1483-1520), who then left the building work (started in 1518) to his student, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1484-1546) who produced the final plans and supervised the actual construction. It is called the Villa Madama from its later ownership by Margaret of Austria. The wooded grounds of villa offered a respite from the heat of Rome and it was favoured spot for Claude to draw the surrounding trees, meadows, fountains, garden and the views towards the city located to the south.
This is not merely a study of trees by Claude, the details are highly developed. This sheet has a pictorial effect with some strong contrasts of scale and light. The present sheet is reminiscent of the school of Frankenthal and of Paul Bril (1554-1626), with Claude displaying his mastery of wash and leaving the white paper as a highlight to convey the the impression of sunlight falling on the gnarled tree shrouded in ivy. This sort of trunk, overgrown with ivy, recurs in another of Claude's drawing in the Teyler Museum, Haarlem (S.78; Roethlisberger 1968, no. 415, pp. 184-185) and is also found in a painting in the National Gallery in London also datable to around 1638 (see M. Roethlisberger, 'Claude Lorrain: The paintings catalog', 2 vols, New Haven, 1961, I, no. LV 15, pp.127-131, II, fig. 54)`
This drawing belongs to a group of tree studies in the so-called Campagna Book (see Roethlisberger 1968, pp. 59-61), as the number in the verso suggests it, and is dated by Marcel Roethlisberger from the late 1630s.
Lit.: A.M. Hind, 'Catalogue of the Drawings of Claude Lorrain preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings', London, 1926, no. 41, p. 5; M. Roethlisberger, 'Claude Lorrain: The drawings catalog', 2 vols, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1968, no. 295, pp.152-153; 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, pp. 65-66, fig. 29; J.J.L. Whiteley, exhib.cat., Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, `Claude Lorrain: Drawings from the Collections of the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum`, 1998, no. 40, p. 87
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978/9 Oct-Jan, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 'Claude Lorrain', no.22
1979, BM, 'Flowers in Art From East & West', no.S9
1982 Jan-Apr, Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery, 'Payne Knight', no.123
1984, BM, 'Landscape in Italy', no.58
1994 Jan-Apr, London, National Gallery, 'Claude Lorrain'
1998 Jun-Sep, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 'Claude Lorrain:...', no. 40
1998/9 Sep-Jan, BM, 'Claude Lorrain', no.40
2006/7 Oct-Jan, San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 'Claude Lorrain:...', fig. 29
2007 Feb-April, Williamstown, Clark Art Institute, 'Claude Lorrain:...'
2007 May-Aug, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Claude Lorrain:...'
2014-5 Sep-Jan, London, V&A, 'John Constable: The Making of a Master'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number