Lorraine (or Gelee), Claude

Lorraine (or Gelee), Claude an illustrious French painter, was born in a small town of Champagne, in the diocese of Toul, Lorraine, in 1600, and went to Rome early for instruction, where he made great improvement in his studies, but met with many reverses, and often was almost penniless. Godfrey Waal admitted him into his academy, where he remained probably two years. Agostino Tassi became interested in Claude, took him into the bosom of his family, and made him his familiar companion. Claude, naturally of a religious disposition, feeling profound gratitude for the many benefits he had received, soon after leaving Tassi and quitting Rome, about 1625, performed a pilgrimage to the holy Virgin of Loretto, where he remained some days in devotional meditation. From thence he made a tour through Italy, traversing Romagna, Lombardy, and on to Venice, where he practiced his profession for some time. In 1627 he returned to Rome, and soon found abundant employment. One of his earliest patrons was cardinal Bentivoglio, for whom he painted two pictures which established his reputation. About this time he was employed by cardinal Crescenzi to decorate the rotunda of his palace; he was also similarly engaged in the Muti of the Holy Apostles, and of the Medici alla Trinita de' Monti. These were succeeded by commissions from the duke of Bracciano, the duke de Bouillon, and the prince de Leaucour, for each a picture. The fame of Claude now extended to every part of Europe, and he received commissions from the most distinguished persons. His works were not confined to Rome, Milan, Parma, Lombardy, and Venice, but extended also to Paris, Lyons, Montpellier, Avignon, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Madrid. He died November 21, 1682. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, s.v.

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