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Landschaft / Landscape (with Cephalus and Procris Reunited by Diana)

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CAT 130. A. H. Payne after Claude Lorrain. Landschaft / Landscape (from Landscape with Cephalus and Procris Reunited by Diana), mid-1630s. Museum in Berlin. Published in mid-ninetenth-century. Melville Chapin Collection.

As a complement to Browne’s folio engraving of Cephalus and Procris, Melville had a copy of the same figures in a landscape painted by Claude thirty years before the 1664 painting that Browne had engraved on copper in 1779 (CAT 129). A. H. Payne’s nineteenth-century steel-plate Landschaft reproduces the Landscape with Cephalus and Procris Reunited by Diana that Claude had painted in the mid-1830s during the same period in which he had painted the Harbor with a Large Tower, Campo Vaccino, and View of a Sea Port during a Sun-set. Roethlisberger points out that this early landscape was Claude’s “first picture with an uncommon mythological theme.” In it, Claude already departs from his Ovidian source by including Diana with Cephalus and Procris in the reunion scene. After this very early canvas, Claude depicted the same subject three more times, the 1664 canvas engraved by Browne being the fourth and last (Roethlisberger, Paintings, no. 243, pp. 511-13).

At the onset of World War II, the painting that Payne had engraved was in the Staatliche Museum of Berlin. In 1961 Roethlisberger cataloged it as having been “destroyed in 1945” (513). When I visited Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie in the summer of 2007, however, I was surprised to see the painting that Payne had engraved hanging on the wall. The canvas had been in Russia until 1958 and was for a long time in storage after its return to Germany because of the damage it had suffered. After years of restoration, the painting became part of the permanent collection of the Berlin Gemäldegalerie in 1998 (fig. 1).

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Fig. 1. Claude Lorrain. Landscape with Cephalus and Procris Reunited by Diana, 1636. Berlin Gemlaldegalerie.

Payne’s steel engraving, small though it was next to Browne’s copper engraving (5 rather than 17 inches high) allowed Melville to compare Claude’s handling of the three principal figures, the spear, and the dog in this early version with his deployment of the same elements thirty years later. In this early version, Claude presents a full lateral view of the Diana’s dog (helping us to imagine the part of the dog’s body that is obscured by Procris’s flowing robes in the later version, where Browne had only the sleek head and a curled tail to work with). The early version engraved by Payne lacks the young boy holding spear. Instead we see, back in a glade, an earlier incident in Ovid’s story featuring “Procris (with spear) and Diana (with bow and arrows); still more remote, three minute nymphs.” Blocking the path to the receding figures is what Roethlisberger calls the “most extraordinary motif” in the landscape setting of this early work: the “two rough, dead tree trunks crossing each other,” which “anticipate the tragic outcome of the lovers’ reunion” (512). 

I have not yet discovered the date or publisher of A. H. Payne’s engraving after this painting. Roethlisberger lists an engraving published by Normand junior in Paris in 1812 and a lithograph published by Mützel in the mid-nineteenth century (p. 513) but no engraving by Payne. Nor doe he list the engraving by T. Heawood that was published by A. H. Payne himself for the Berlin Royal Gallery in Berlin and its Royal Treasures in Leipzig and Dresden in 1854 and republished in New York as The Berlin Gallery in 1867, accompanied by a substantial text (“Landscape by Claude Lorrain,” pp. 185-93 in the New York edition).