Claude (1604 - 1682)
- Landscape with Apollo and Mercury
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 74.5 x 110.4 cm
Object size: 104 x 138.5 x 7.5 cm
- Signature: 'CLAUDE IV. / ROMA / 1660'
- Great Gallery
- Claude was born in the Duchy of Lorraine (in present-day France)
but spent his career as a landscape painter in Rome. His originality lay in
his masterly depiction of light, which both unifies his compositions and
enhances their poetic mood. In this painting Claude depicts the luminous
morning light of the countryside around Rome (the Campagna), which he drew and painted throughout his career.
The figures are drawn from classical mythology (the Latin poet Ovid’s
Metamorphoses): the Roman god Apollo in the foreground plays the pipes in
memory of his lost love, Coronis. In the background, Mercury takes advantage of Apollo’s distracted state of mind to steal his cattle. Technical analysis has revealed that Claude’s original composition did not include the dog and that Apollo was depicted seated in a different position. These additions and changes were made to the painting at a later stage, probably by the seventeenth-century Flemish painter Cornelis de Wael, the first owner
of the painting.
The painting was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1846.