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Claude Lorrain’s View of Tivoli at Sunset Analysis

It is known that landscape painting has always been one of the most popular types of pictorial art. One of the famous landscape painters is Claude Lorrain, a person who devoted his life to art and whose achievements in landscape painting deserve admiration. He prefers to depict natural scenery including sea, mountains, rivers, forests and valleys. It is known that John Constable, the outstanding English Romantic painter, described the art of Claude Lorrain as the art of “the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw”. Moreover, he stated that in Claude’s landscape painting “all is lovely – all amiable – all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart”. (Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky)

My goal in this paper is to describe Claude Lorrain’s painting View of Tivoli at Sunset which was created in 1644. Today this work of art can be found in San Francisco Museum of Art.

This landscape painting refers to Claude Lorrain’s mature works. Claude Lorrain’s View of Tivoli at Sunset is an oil landscape painting where the artist gives a magnificent and even idealized representation of Tivoli, the ancient Italian town which is situated about thirty kilometers out of Italian capital city. Claude Lorrain depicts the beauty of sunset, gorgeous ancient ruins of palaces, and three young shepherds who led their herd of cows to the river.

As Claude Lorrain is known as the master of light, his painting View of Tivoli at Sunset is a real masterpiece. The artist uses different color tones in order to depict the twilight including orange and lilac tones. Besides, he depicts the mist using some nostalgic tones which create the effect of a moving mist. Moreover, Claude is a true master of atmospheric perspective, the artistic method used for creating the illusion of distance and depth in the painting. He not only changes different colors and scale, but also he represents objects in the background of the painting. Claude follows the main rules of perspective and depicts the objects further away from the viewer. The second artistic technique used by the artist in this painting in linear perspective which allows him to create deep, three-dimensional space. In this art work, the light passes from the scene through the painting to the viewers’ eyes.

In View of Tivoli at Sunset, the foreground figures of three young shepherds who herd their cows and goats to the drinking place seem to be so small and helpless against the natural environment including huge trees, bushes, river and the ancient palace on the mountain that the viewer realizes the power of nature. The feeling of warmth fills the painting.

It is interesting to note that the town of Tivoli is one of Claude’s favorite places which he depicted in his numerous landscape paintings. The theme of this art work is closely connected with the artist’s childhood. It is known that he was born in the poor family and most of his young years were spent in the province. Claude loved nature and wanted other people to feel the same. That is why his View of Tivoli at Sunset develops the sense of beauty and quickens imagination.


Works Cited

Constable. Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky. National Gallery of Australia. 2010. Available from:<http://www.nga.gov.au/Exhibition/CONSTABLE/Detail.cfm?IRN=143208&BioArtistIRN=18283&ViewID=1&MnuID=1>
Lorrain, C. View of Tivoli at Sunset. 1644. San Francisco Museum of Art.