February 4–April 29, 2007
As Claude's early biographer noted, "the great quality of this artist was a marvelous and still-unsurpassed imitation of nature." His landscapes were also steeped in the humanistic traditions of his day. Claude's sophisticated patrons—Roman princes, cardinals, popes, as well as prominent collectors across Europe—appreciated the poetic allusions as well as the visual harmony he brought to his compositions. Like other landscapists at the time, Claude often introduced episodes from classical literature or the Bible, both to "ennoble" his scenes and to add narrative interest. He nearly always chose quiet, contemplative subjects, which underscore the elegiac and nostalgic aspect of his pastoral vision.
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