Claude Lorrain (aka Claude Gellée)
La fuite en Egypte
Northern Europe, French, Lorraine
4 1/8 in. x 6 3/4 in. (10.48 cm x 17.15 cm)
Medium and Support:
Etching on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Jr., in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Weil, Sr.
Throughout the course of his career, Claude treated the subject of this print, the Holy Family’s escape into Egypt during Herod’s massacre of the innocents, in drawings, paintings, and prints. In this relatively early etching in Claude’s oeuvre, Mary and Jesus ride a donkey trailed by Joseph and flanked by angels. The figures are difficult to detect against the dark mass of foliage—a problem with all three states of this print, but one that Claude resolved in later depictions of the subject.
Claude’s technique typically involved the creation of a detailed drawing, which he then traced onto a waxed plate. Next, he scratched the plate and etched it, followed by more scraping, burnishing, and often re-etching. His results achieved great renown in his own day, and have continued to be valued down to the present. Delicate variations in shading and difficult effects of transparency contributed to his masterful representation of landscape. Indeed, Claude’s atmospheric Arcadian scenes have influenced countless artists and established a high standard of excellence for all subsequent landscape art.