Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, R.A. 1740 - 1812
Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on, 1781
Oil on canvas, 900 X 1464 X 25 mm
Diploma Work given by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, R.A., accepted 1781
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Trained in France, De Loutherbourg brought with him to England a sophisticated understanding of the classical landscape, as propounded by Claude Lorrain and Nicholas Poussin. However, possibly influenced by Thomas Gainsborough and 17th century Dutch landscapes, he gradually eschewed grander subjects and scenes for more rural landscapes. In Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on, De Loutherbourg focuses the spectator’s attention on the foreground, where the figures and animals instinctively sit near the protective branches of the trees, in anticipation of the approaching storm. Beyond this peaceful group the eye is then led by the gently sloping contours of the landscape to the storm on the horizon.

By 1781 De Loutherbourg had had a great deal of experience designing theatrical backdrops and stage scenery, and this possibly influenced his landscapes, in that he was able to render effectively different kinds of weather and light. This work is given a heightened sense of reality by De Loutherbourg’s ability to capture the atmospheric conditions caused by the approaching storm, with the glowing light in the sky and the storm clouds building up in the distance.

Frames associated with this work