CLAUDE LORRAIN
(b. 1604, Chamagne, d. 1682, Roma)

Landscape with Rest in Flight to Egypt

1647
Oil on canvas, 102 x 134 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

The Flight into Egypt appears in the background to the left, framed by a group of trees. Claude was fond of this subject, yet he rarely approached it in such a discreet manner. The holy family, watched over by an angel, seem to be there almost by chance amid this classically inspired jewel-box of a landscape. The overall effect recalls a pastoral scene from Virgil, which brings us to the three figures in Antique attire in the foreground: a shepherd playing a pipe, a seated washerwoman, and to the right a woman collecting water from a spring.

A herd of cattle and goats approaches them to quench their thirst in the river. Everything unites to convey a vision of a harmonious world with a lively river, the font of life, flowing through its heart. Although the work is lent precision by the detailing of the different species of tree, it is the light that consolidates the whole: the clarity of the breaking day unfolding from the left — as always Claude has painted the early morning — brings the forms out of the shade and submerges the distance in a milky haze.

The painting is signed as "Clavde ivef" (ivef = invenit et fecit).