Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain

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Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain
Apollo Watching the Herds of Admetus
Pen and brown ink, and wash, with white opaque watercolor, over black chalk, with pen and black ink in foreground details, on laid paper.
8 1/2 x 11 1/8 inches (216 x 283 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 271
Jonathan Richardson, Jr. (Lugt 2170); Henry Constantine Jennings, London (Lugt 2771); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses was one of Claude’s favorite sources for inspiration and subject matter. In this case, he depicts the tale of Apollo being forced to serve as a shepherd to King Admetus as punishment for killing the cyclops. While the god plays his pipes at lower right, the flock he is supposed to be guarding wanders off and is stolen by Mercury, in the left background. This bucolic scene, worked up to an exceptional degree of finish with delicate white highlights, is an independent drawing, although it was executed around the time Claude made two paintings of the subject.


Watermark: none visible through lining.

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