PATEL, Pierre
(b. ca. 1605, Picardie, d. 1676, Paris)

Landscape with Ruins

Oil on canvas, 59 x 85,5 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield

Under Louis XIV, the two main landscape painter of the time were Pierre Patel and Francisque Millet. They were largely derivative in their styles, but this was the secret of their success. Both of them are relatively little known today.

Patel derived almost all his ideas and inspiration from Claude, specializing in idyllic classical landscapes, usually with a golden light. His best pictures, such as the example in the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, are elegant interpretations of Claude, but lack Claude's poetry, being much more akin to the Dutch interpretation of the Italian landscape; and sometimes there is a more antiquarian approach where the ruins are prominent. It was precisely his lack of imagination which brought Patel success he conformed to the accepted standard of landscape format. Such art is particularly difficult to appreciate today, when so much significance is attached to originality.