Landscape with Goatherd Claude Lorrain Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats is a part of the collection of the National Gallery in London, UK. A number of notable British collectors acquired Claude artworks in the 18th century, with many of them now displayed in public galleries.

The artwork is believed to have been completed in around 1636-7. Giulio Rospigliosi is believed to have commissioned this piece, with his name inscribed on the back of the painting. The Italian would go on to become Pope Clement IX in 1667, many years after this commission was completed. Claude himself spent most of his professional life in Rome and the majority of his patrons were located in and around the city. As his reputation soared he was able to draw in others from abroad, but Rome was very much his home and it also provided much inspiration for his landscapes and architectural content. Once Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats had arrived in the UK it would be studied by a number of artists, many of whom could not travel to Italy or France due to ongoing wars and other issues. The abundance of Claude paintings in the UK helped to raise his profile here, and he was already particularly popular in France and Italy.

The artist kept a consistent approach throughout his career and this helped to create a brand which many notable patrons appreciated, encouraging them to commission the artist themselves. Landscape with a Goatherd and Goats is certainly one of the safer, less ambitious items from his career, though still worthy of note in any case. A bright blue sky with considerable numbers of white fluffy clouds lies in the background, whilst trees dominate everything in front. The vertical aspect was chosen to allow these tall plants to stretch up and cover the full vertical of the painting. These also cast shadows upon the ground below, leaving the animals in relative darkeness, though with just enough light showing through that we are able to see and identify the Goatherd and Goats. Normally architecture would feature somewhere in the composition, but it is completely devoid from this particular piece.

In terms of seeing more of the variety within his career, you might also be wise to check out the likes of Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia, Seaport at Sunset and Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula. The artist loved to play with light within his scenes and this would have inspired the Impressionist artists who were equally interested in this important artistic factor. His influence would lead to that point in the 19th century via a series of other European movements which popped up between the two eras. His influence was strong across Europe and he helped to establish landscape painting as a respected genre for the first time. Previously it had only been seen as a supporting item which could help with other subjects such as history painting or figurative art. He is today rightly regarded as one of the most important French artists of all time.