Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Claude Lorraine

Claude Lorraine, more correctly Claude of Lorraine, or Claude Gelee. was born at Chamague, in Lorraine, in 1600, his parents being of the humblest class. According to one tradition he was apprenticed to a pastrycook. At the age of 12 he appears to have joined his brother John Gelee, a carver at Freiburg, and to have drawn designs for him. Later on he made his way to Rome in search of work, and worked for a time at Naples under Godfrey Waals, a landscape painter. For two years he served Tassi, another landscapist at Rome, in almost a menial capacity, but he learnt something of art, and sketched assiduously in the open air. In 1625 he made a tour, and for a year assisted Karl Dervent, painting also the ceiling of the Carmelite church at Nancy. Returning to Rome in 1627, he executed a couple of landscapes for Cardinal Bentivoglio, who secured for him the favour of Pope Urban VIII., and his fortune was then made. He not merely possessed an instinctive feeling for all the varying phases of Nature, but he studied them also from a scientific standpoint. He was laboriously painstaking in his work, never resting satisfied till he had got the desired effect. His pictures are full of light and air, the distances being marvellously represented, the colouring rich yet delicate, and the various objects harmoniously illuminated. He failed in his figures, for which he had frequently recourse to Curtois, Lauri, and other artists. He kept tinted drawings of all the pictures he sold, with the date and price of each, and these volumes, still reproduced, he named Libri di Verita, as giving the means of identifying his works at once. He was an etcher, too, of no mean skill. Though uneducated, he was a man of natural refinement and gentleness, beloved by his pupils, to whom he freely opened out his vast stores of practical knowledge. He died at Rome in 10S2, leaving a considerable fortune.