Study for ‘The Arrival of Aeneas at Pallenteum’
Born in France, Claude Lorrain established himself in Rome as a highly innovative painter and draughtsman. He had a significant impact on later artists, including the British artist John Constable who described him as ‘the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw’. His distinctive drawings are characterised by a thoughtful mixture of media. In this study, the contrast and variation of graphite, ink and wash convey a sense of texture and volume as well as the interaction between light and shadow. Through the use of diagonal lines the artist set out the focal point of the whole composition.
The subject of the drawing is taken from Virgil (Aeneid, VII, 25), and describes the moment when Aeneas and his companions sailed up the river Tiber in Italy, but soon found themselves at war with the local population. In the distance is the city of Pallanteum, site of the future Rome. The drawing is preparatory for a painting today at Anglesey Abbey.