Perfect Landscapes

Claude Lorrain’s “A Landscape with Argus Guarding Io”

Claude Lorrain’s “A Landscape with Argus Guarding Io”

It doesn’t matter what the painting is called. It’s by Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), so it’s a landscape with classical overtones and various people picturesquely arranged across the foreground as if they were born to grace that landscape the moment they walked across it.

There is something so perfect about Lorrain’s landscapes that I was enthralled to discover a website called Claude Lorrain: The Complete Works. Granted that the pictures are all identified across the top and side, as in the example above, it is still wonderful to see so many of the master’s works all in one place. Take a look at the website and enlarge some of the landscapes: They are perhaps the best ever painted.

I don’t write about painting much, but that’s not because it isn’t important to me. It’s the same reason I don’t write much about music. Both art forms, especially music, tend to defy the world of words—and that’s where I tend to live.

This last weekend, I spent a whole day putting together an MP3 collection of some of my favorite music, including Brahms, Sibelius, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven’s Symphonies and Late Quartets, Prokofiev, Elgar, Welsh choral music, and Argentinian tangos sung by Carlos Gardel. They will keep me company on my lonely travels across Iceland.