Claude Lorrain: Seaport at Sunset

Seaport at Sunset: Claude Lorrain

Seaport at Sunset is a 1639 oil on canvas seascape painting by French Baroque painter Claude Lorrain.

Seaport at Sunset Analysis

The picture depicts a busy seaport in a city at sunset. While daylight is ending, the activity at the seaport shows no sight of ending. We can see fishermen rowing out to sea and men preparing ships for sunrise, in the background we see ships that have departed for sea and in the foreground we find a man playing music to two sitting women, one with a small child. We can also see people conducting business, and a group of men who appear to be fighting. All of this is set under a row of grand buildings adjacent to the port.

Claude Lorrain shows his mastery in the painting of architecture and the rendering of the fading light of the day. The recession from the foreground shore via the buildings on the left and the boats and ship on the right is even and measured, and serves to draw our eye towards the setting sun whose pinks and gold bathe the scene.

Lorrain spent most of his life working in Italy, mostly in the landscape genre. However, combined with his mastery of the portrayal of landscape, his inclusion of usually small biblical or mythological figures in these landscapes helped to elevate his classical pictures into the much more prestigious genre of history painting.

The painting, which was completed when the artist was 39 years old, is in oil on canvas and is one meter (40 inches) high and 1.3 meters (54 inches) wide.

Seaport at Sunset Location

Claude Lorrain’s Seaport at Sunset is in the Louvre in Paris, France.

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