Coast View with Perseus and the Origin of Coral

At least seven drawings can be related to a famous painting of Perseus and the Origin of Coral, which Claude executed in 1674 for Cardinal Camillo Massimi. This one features a composition similar to the final design of the painting. Claude was keen here to establish the tonal values as well as the extraordinary effect of light, which would become the most remarkable feature of the painting. The blue paper—which Claude used for his most accomplished, meticulously detailed drawings—enabled him to indicate the reflections of the heavenly body on the sea with great freedom; its beams strike the group of nymphs swiftly sketched in white gouache, as well as the winged horse, whereas Cupid and Perseus himself remain in the shadows.
Claude Gellée, known as Claude Lorrain (1600 or 1604/05 – 1682)
circa 1671-74
Pen and black and brown ink over black chalk, brown and gray wash, highlighted with white gouache on blue paper – H. 25.4 cm; W. 32.2 cm – Department of Prints and Drawings, Louvre, Paris, RF 4601 – Gift of the Friends of the Louvre in 1920
© RMN / Michèle Bellot