Figures in a Landscape before a Harbor
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Claude Lorrain
French, France, late 1630s
Pen and brown ink, reddish-brown wash, and white gouache heightening on blue paper
9 3/8 x 13 5/16 in.

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An imaginative architectural setting and brilliant light effects make this drawing an excellent example of Claude Lorrain's harbor scenes. He let the light-blue paper serve as a middle ground for both water and sky. By allowing the paper to peek through his washes in other places, he used its gentle color to subtly unify his composition.

Like his near-contemporary Nicolas Poussin, Claude spent most of his life in Rome, where his art was strongly inspired by the Roman campagna , or countryside. He probably made this drawing as a study for a painting that was commissioned by the French ambassador in Rome and is now in a private collection. This sheet could also be a copy after that picture.