Landscape with merchants - Claude Lorren. Oil on Canvas, 97.2 x 143.6
Claude Lorren devoted all his work to landscape, and it was rare for the creators of that time, who preferred profitable portraits and genre scenes. Wide space, movement deep into the picture, filigree work with light and contours of foreground silhouettes - all this forms the basis of the style of the outstanding French painter.
The painting “Landscape with Merchants” can be called a textbook in terms of studying the master’s technique. The program of the picture is stated in the title, however, the viewer may notice that the merchants themselves occupy an insignificant place in the art space. Nature dominates in all its splendor!
For the foreground, Lorren chooses dark colors, while the background is represented by a light palette. The depth effect is achieved by depicting each of the subsequent plans with a lighter color than the previous one was reproduced - such a stepwise illumination creates a realistic, realistic picture. It seems as if the viewer himself is observing a picturesque landscape spread out in front of him, extending far beyond the horizon.
In this work, the movement into the distance is deliberately emphasized by a meandering river, which leads away to the point where the earth meets the sky. The color culmination is located in the center of the canvas - these are the brightest and purest colors, depicting an empty sky, helpfully opened by retreating clouds.
Claude Lorren, this singer of nature, stood at the origins of such a concept as “classical landscape”, which later will be actively developed by painters throughout Europe.