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

Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia

Oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Claude's very last picture, the Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia is one of Claude's purest inspirations from the poetry of Virgil.

In the painting the yellows have faded completely, leaving a bluish tinge over the whole, and the entire surface has been abraded. As a result the picture has an unnatural and ghostly feeling. The composition is one of Claude's most calculated, with trees, distant landscape and figures in total harmony. The Deruet-like figures are more.prominent than usual, with their bright blues and reds. The story is a tragic one: Ascanius accidentally shoots the stag of Sylvia, which unleashes a brutal war of revenge. It is fitting that Claude should have ended his career on this theme without depicting brutality, as it sums up his gentleness of temperament as an artist.

The painting was executed for the Principe Colonna and was still in the collection in 1783.