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The Calm

CAT 145 Benazech after Patel The Calm EBC.jpg

CAT 145. Peter Benazech after Patel. The Calm. London: John Boydell, May 1, 1779. E. Barton Chapin Jr. Family Collection.

In Patel’s The Calm, bucolic figures are bathed in a soft equalizing light as they fill a jug and drink from a stream before a ruined temple. This subject shows why Pierre Patel came to be known as the “Claude Lorrain of France.” Its compositional elements are very similar to those of Claude’s Roman Edifices in Ruins, engraved by Woollett in London in the same decade (fig. 1).

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Fig. 1. William Woollett after Claude Lorrain. Roman Edifices in Ruins. London: John Boydell, 1770s. Harvard Library Museums/Fogg Museum.

Natalie Coural in Les Patel reproduces Benazech’s engraving in both the English-language version that Melville acquired as The Calm and in the French-language version entitled Le Agréable Recontre. Coural attributes the design to Pierre-Antoine Patel, inspired by the work of his father (Les Patel, PAP G1 and PAP G2, p. 313).

This folio print is another collaboration between English printmakers and French artists during the pioneering period of Classical Italian printmaking in England. Peter Benazech studied with Francis Vivarés and worked in both Paris and London. Whereas Vivarés “almost entirely confined himself to landscapes of a particular style by Lorrain, Gaspar Poussin, or Patel” (as indicated in Melville’s copy of Duplessis, p. 192), Benazech engraved a landscape after François Boucher and seapieces after Joseph-Claude Vernet in addition to landscapes after Dughet and Patel.