I have written a post on this great French painter before; but good art can always be appreciated without end.
Lorrain (1600-1682) was a French painter who specialized in landscapes. He has always been one of my favorite painters. I find his landscapes to be the best expression ever created of a poetic vision of the natural world. During the summer months I am often reminded of him, especially during the early mornings hours or later in the day, when the cicadas are humming and the sun is performing her miracles of shade and light in the world around us.
Another landscape painter from a later era, John Constable, described Claude as “the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw”. And he perhaps sums up his work nicely by simply saying: “all is lovely – all amiable – all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart”
“The calm sunshine of the heart” is itself a nice, poetic way of describing Claude’s landscapes. I really cannot think of another painter who better captured the calm beauty of a summer’s day, when the light and warmth envelop our world, and the lovely gifts of nature, especially the verdant trees, are seen through a soft patina of a hot and humid atmosphere. Under such conditions all we wish to do is relax, enjoy life, and delight in the present moment. We know summer will pass and winter will eventually come. The winter can bring clear and sharp and forcible days, cold and snow and ice and bitter blue skies; the summer seems to bring the lovely caresses of a calmer, more joyous world of repose and repast. I can find no work where Claude painted a winter scene. I suppose like most of us, he preferred summers.
In short, I love the poetic beauty of his paintings; each summer I am reminded of them, and each summer they only seem to get better and better. Now that we are in the height of this summer’s season, his works once again take on a special meaning for me.