Lorrain, Claude, byname of Claude Gelee
(b. 1600, Chamagne, Fr.--d. Nov. 23, 1682, Rome).
French artist best known for, and one of the greatest masters of,
ideal-landscape painting, an art form that seeks to present a view of
nature more beautiful and harmonious than nature itself. The quality
of that beauty is governed by classical concepts, and the landscape
often contains classical ruins and pastoral figures in classical
dress. The source of inspiration is the countryside around Rome--the
Roman Campagna--a countryside haunted with remains and associations of
antiquity. The practitioners of ideal landscape during the 17th
century, the key period of its development, were artists of many
nationalities congregated in Rome. Later, the form spread to other
countries. Claude, whose special contribution was the poetic rendering
of light, was particularly influential, not only during his lifetime
but, especially in England, from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century.
[Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1994]