Unlike Claude, Poussin, and Dughet, French painters who settled in Rome and painted the Italian landscape from first hand experience, Pierre Patel (1605-1676) built on the success of his expatriate contemporaries by depicting the Italian landscape as he imagined it from Paris. Patel worked for Simon Vouet after his admission to the Académie de Sant Luc in 1635. In 1646-47 he collaborated with Herman Swanevelt and others in decorating the Hôtel Lambert with images that survive today through engravings by Bernard Picart. Patel’s paintings from this period have at times been confused with those of Swanevelt, who had brought the style of Claude Lorraine with him to Paris in the 1630s. Patel’s later paintings have been confused with those of his son Pierre-Antoine Patel (1648-1707), who painted in the same classicizing style. After the Hôtel Lambert commission, Patel perfected “a poetic imagery of ruins, reedy meadowlands, and slender trees.” Between 1655 and 1660, his compositions became more “crowded and elaborate,” and in later decades he specialized in topographical views similar to those Gabrielle Perelle, another Parisian artist whose “clear, refined classicism” is represented in Melville’s collection (Coural, Grove, 253-54).
- Works cited in this section:
- Coural, Natalie. Les Patel: Pierre Patel (1605-1676) et ses fils, Le paysage de ruines á Paris au xviie siècle. Paris: Arthéna, 2001.
- ------. “Patel.” Grove, 1996, 24:253-56.
- Duplessis, Georges. The Wonders of Engraving. London: Low and Marston, 1871 (Sealts no. 195).