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Landscape with Saint Mary of Cervelló
Claude (Lorrain, byname of Claude Gellée)
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Claude (Lorrain, byname of Claude Gellée)

Chamagne, 1600 - Rome, 1682

See author's file

Landscape with Saint Mary of Cervelló

Ca. 1637. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The scene is set in a lush wooded clearing that opens into the distance at the center. A brightly lit anchorite in a Mercedarian habit kneels in the foreground, praying in front of a crucifix. The space is enclosed on both sides by trees and boulders but the horizon visible through the center consists of high mountains lit by soft dawn light. Scattered around the landscape are deer and a few buildings, and on the left, a village on the banks of a river crossed by a bridge. The authorship of the figure has been questioned, as its scale is larger than customary in works by Claude Lorrain. It has traditionally been identified as Saint Mary of Cervelló (ca. 1230-1290), cofounder of the female branch of the Mercedarian order, but there is no documentation to indicate that she ever lived as a hermit. In fact, she spent all of her life in Barcelona, aiding the needy in prisons and hospitals. However, this may be a depiction of the blessed Mariana de Jesús (Madrid, 1565-1624), who retired to a small house near the Mercedarian convent by the hermitage of Santa Bárbara, in Madrid. In 1613, she entered the Order of Mercy, but she continued to live in her retreat, which may be why she is represented here with her hair down and bareheaded. The people of Madrid were highly devoted to her from a very early date, calling her a saint while she was still alive. Court painter Vicente Carducho made her death mask and painted her first portrait around 1605 (Almería Cathedral). All of this seems to justify her presence among the paintings of hermits at the Buen Retiro palace.

Nature plays an outstanding role in this work, providing an exuberant refuge for the delicate and pious figure of the saint, which is theatrically illuminated by a ray of light against a dark background.

There are preparatory drawings for this canvas at the British Museum in London and at the Albertina Library in Vienna. It was painted for the landscape gallery at King Philip IV’s (1605-1665) Buen Retiro Palace, where it was coupled with Landscape with Saint Onuphrius (P2256), which is also at the Museo del Prado.

The formidable campaign of arts acquisitions carried out by the Count-Duke of Olivares in the 1640s to decorate the vast spaces at Madrid’s Buen Retiro Palace included a very notable number of landscapes. Of these works -almost two hundred in all- we cannot determine how many were purchased in Flanders or Spain, nor which ones came from private collections or other Royal Seats, but thanks to the works at the Museo del Prado and documents found to date, we can establish with certainty that the Buen Retiro Palace was furnished with numerous landscapes painted for the occasion by artists active in Rome.

A series of at least twenty-five landscapes with anchorites and a dozen Italianate landscapes -large format works by different artists- were commissioned. Of the pieces that have survived, most are at the Museo del Prado.

Commissioned in Rome between 1633 and 1641, these landscape paintings from the Buen Retiro constituted an early anthology of this new painting from nature characterized by a new awareness of the effects of light and the atmosphere of the Roman countryside that would eventually spread through most of Europe, representing one of many aspects of classicism (Text drawn from Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, pp. 230-232; Capitelli, G. in Úbeda de los Cobos, A.: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, p. 241).


Technical data

Inventory number
Claude (Lorrain, byname of Claude Gellée)
Landscape with Saint Mary of Cervelló
Ca. 1637
Height: 162 cm; Width: 241 cm
Paisajes para el Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701; New Royal Palace, Madrid, 1772; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794).

Bibliography +

Inventario Nuevo Palacio Real, Madrid, 1772.

Lapauze, H., Exposition du Paysage Français de Poussin a Corot. Catalogue, Imprimerie Crete, Paris, 1925.

Berenson, Bernard, Italian pictures of the renaissance. List of the principal artists and their works with and index of places :Venetian school, Phaidon, Londres, 1957, pp. 244.

Roethlisberger, Marcel, Claude Lorrain: the Paintings, Hacker Art Books, New Haven, 1961, pp. 481/ lám.86.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Luna, Juan José, Precisiones sobre las pinturas de Claudio de Lorena en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, II, 1981, pp. 100.

Brown, Jonathan, Un palacio para un rey: el Buen Retiro y la corte de Felipe IV, Alianza Editorial, Revista Occidente, Madrid, 1981, pp. 131/ lám.69.

Claudio de Lorena y el ideal clásico de paisaje en el siglo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1984, pp. 138,139.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 375.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc, Nueva York. Londres, 1986, pp. 295/ lám.1102.

Brown, Jonathan, Velázquez: pintor y cortesano, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1986, pp. 91/ lám.103.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Vega, Jesusa, Museo del Prado: catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, 1992, pp. 245.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 507.

Brown, Jonathan, Painting in Spain 1500-1700, Yale University Press, Yale, 1998, pp. 166/ lám.215.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Velázquez, Rubens, Lorrain: Malerei am Hof Philipps IV, Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deu, Bonn, 1999, pp. 176.

Rodríguez García de Ceballos, Alfonso, Velázquez y las ermitas del Buen Retiro: entre eremitismo religioso y el refinamiento cortesano, Atrio, 15-16, 2009 2010, pp. 135-148 [141].

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, El paisaje nórdico en el Prado: Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 140,143-144, 165 / 52.

Roma naturaleza e ideal: paisajes 1600-1650, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2011, pp. 191.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Rubens, Brueghel, Lorrain. A Paisagem Nórdica do Museu do Prado, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga - INCM - Museo Nacional del Prado, Lisboa, 2013, pp. 141,161 n.52.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1049.
Claudio de Lorena / 1049. País, la madrugada. / Terreno montañoso y quebrado formando un deleitoso valle, en el cual se ve arrodillada la penitente Magdalena (C.L.) / Alto 5 pies, 9 pulg; ancho 8 pies, 7 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1049.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1992.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2259.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
03.12.2013 - 30.03.2014

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Palma de Mallorca
20.06.2013 - 29.09.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
20.12.2012 - 24.02.2013

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
25.09.2012 - 25.11.2012

Rubens, Brueghel, Lorena. El paisaje nórdico en el Prado
Santiago de Compostela
01.12.2011 - 18.03.2012

El palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro
06.07.2005 - 30.10.2005

Velázquez, Rubens, Claudio de Lorena y la pintura en la corte de Felipe IV
07.10.1999 - 23.01.2000

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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