Claude Lorrain

Landscape with a Temple of Bacchus

1644
Greek and Roman literature inspired the taste for pastoral landscapes - visions of a tranquil and fertile nature. Here shepherds bring cattle home at end of day, while peasants pray before a statue of Bacchus. The subject is banal, but the mood is dream-like - the golden light of the setting sun transforming the carefully composed landscape. Although set in the distant past, Bacchus' temple is overgrown and already partly decayed, as if looking forward to the ruins of Claude's own day. Claude enjoyed fame across Europe: this is one of two works he painted for an unidentified English patron. The other, "Landscape with Narcissus and Echo" (now in the National Gallery, London) is set in early morning. Regardless of their ostensible subjects of rustic peasants or ancient myth, the contrasting times of day and the quality of light are Claude's real interest. Frame: carved wood, gilded. France, second half 17th century
Title
Landscape with a Temple of Bacchus
Date
1644
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
96.5 x 123.1 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Purchased 1939
Accession number
4422