Called Le Lorrain and Claude Lorraine; born in 1600 in Chamagne, then in the duchy of Lorraine. His parents died in 1612 and probably in 1613 he went to Rome where it was said he was first a baker's assistant. He studied painting in Rome under the landscape painter A. Tassi and in Naples with Tassi's pupil, G. Wals (perhaps 1618-22). In 1625 he left Tassi's studio and returned to Lorraine where he worked with C. Deruet decorating the Carmelite church in Nancy. He returned the following year to Rome, and stayed for the rest of his life.
His earlier landscapes were influenced by the Dutch painters then in Rome, Swanevelt and Breenbergh, but before 1635 he drew and painted in the Roman Campagna and discovered the classical landscapes of Domenichino. In 1633 he was made a member of the Accademia di S. Luca and by the end of that decade his landscapes were being bought by Philip IV of Spain and Pope Urban VIII. From 1650 his paintings became fewer but more ambitious in scale and content.
He died in Rome on 23 November 1682.