February 4–April 29, 2007
Claude's nature drawings demonstrate his commitment to engaging directly with the world around him. In his wanderings around Rome, however, he mostly ignored modern life to focus instead on the vestiges of the Eternal City's classical heritage. He viewed nature through the prism of the past, made alive to him through the remains of ancient architecture and through its literary manifestations, as in the pastoral poetry of such writers as Theocritus and Virgil. The dialogue between the intrinsic delight of the landscape and its richer historical associations was a major theme of Claude's art. The image of Rome still suffused by the spirit of a glorious past that might be recaptured in the present appealed to the artist's patrons.
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