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Heroic Landscape

Brown ink landscape drawing with rocks, trees, and two figures

Claude Lorrain (1600–1682)
Heroic Landscape, 1655–58
Pen, iron-gall ink, brown and gray wash, and white heightening on laid paper
11 7/8 x 15 11/16 in (30.1 x 39.8 cm)
Purchased by The Frick Collection, 1982

By applying wash in different densities and leaving areas of the paper untouched, Claude produces a wide range of tones, from the deep shadows of the foreground to the gleaming surface of the sea in the distance. The light and the movement of the figures, birds, and clouds convey a sense of impending drama. The drawing contains the initial idea for a painting of a biblical story, for which Claude constructs an appropriately magnificent, awe-inspiring landscape.