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Pastoral Landscape

CAT 132 joubert after claude Pastoral Landscape mel chapin.jpg

CAT 133. Drawn and etched by F. Joubert after Claude Lorrain. Pastoral Landscape. London: James Carpenter & Son, Old Bond Street, 1835. Published in the Collection of Pictures of W. G. Coesvelt, London, 1836. Melville Chapin Collection.

The compositional structure of this Pastoral Landscape attributed to Claude Lorrain etched by F. Joubert in 1835 has much in common with the Pastoral Landscape in the painting engraved by Feradiny in the previous century (CAT 132). Here we again have two pastoral figures next to a tree, surrounded by goats and cattle, with a body of water in the distance and an imposing building high on the right, in this case with two boats rowing on the water. But the texture of each print is entirely difference owing to the difference in medium.

Feradiny in his copper engraving presumably intended to reproduce the original painting in the Lloyd collection as fully and expansively as his medium, and the size of his paper, allowed. Joubert’s challenge was to reduce the original painting in the Coesvelt Collection into a form small enough for the page of a sale catalog. He did this by creating his own line drawing as an abstraction of the painting, this then becoming the subject of the etching he created for the catalog, a process not unlike the process by which Claude created each Liber Veritatis drawing that was later etched by Richard Earlom. The openness of Joubert’s etching recalls Melville’s journal entry while sailing among the Sporades Islands in 1857: “The scenery is all outline. No filling up. Seem to be sailing upon gigantic outline engravings” (NN J 97).

This painting was untitled in the sale catalog for the Coesvelt Collection in 1836, where it was described as “Landscape. Sun-set, brilliant and clear. The foreground painted firm and broad; in the middle ground is a River with Fishing-boats, and a Hill surmounted by a Fort” (No. 17). In 1962 Roethlisberger was unable to assign this Pastoral Landscape (then in Strasbourg’s Musée des Beaux-Arts) to a definite period in Claude’s career. From the handling of the paint, he considered it to be a “fair imitation” of a work by Claude by an unknown seventeenth- or eighteenth-century Italian painter (Paintings, no. 275, fig. 367, p. 533).

Anna Jameson in her introduction to the sale catalog regretted “the dispersion of this fine Gallery,” but she also emphasized “the value of a catalogue with outlined memoranda of the pictures, and these drawn in a very correct and pure style.” This value is “particularly felt by those who have seen and wish to recall the pictures distinctly to the mind’s eye. . . . To those who have not seen the pictures, a correct outline which would enable the amateur to identify them at any future time is always of value; a slight variation in the accessories will in some cases afford the only means of distinguishing a genuine work from a good copy or old imitation;--at least to those who are not de la premiere force as connoisseurs. And how few of those who traffic in pictures, and can gabble of them in the most recondite phrases, deserve the name!” (Coesvelt, xii).