Artibus et Historiae no. 46 (XXIII)

2002, ISSN 0391-9064

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CLAIRE PACE - "The Golden Age... The First and Last Days of Mankind": Claude Lorrain and Classical Pastoral, with Special Emphasis on Themes from Ovid

Claude's rendering of Ovidian scenes is best considered in the context of his approach to classical pastoral, and particularly his affinity to Sannazaro's Arcadia. The first part of this paper explores this aspect of Claude's work. The second part considers his treatment of subjects from Ovid, suggesting that his approach differs from that of earlier artists, avoiding dramatic and erotic subjects, and usually also avoiding the actual moment of metamorphosis. Claude's Acis and Galatea is seen as exemplifying his rendering of Ovidian scenes; showing a moment of idyllic happiness shortly to be disturbed by tragic events. This "vespertinal" mood is seen as according with that of pastoral in general. Thus Claude succeeds in reintegrating Ovid's subversive use of pastoral motifs into the pastoral tradition.

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