Claude Lorrain’s Mediterranean port at sunrise with the Embarkation of Saint Paula for Jerusalem is among highlights of Christie’s Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale in London on 3 December 2013. His spectacular landscape is estimated to fetch £3 – 5 million ($4,8 – 8,1 million). Commissioned in 1650 by the Roman Cardinal Domenico Cecchini (1589 – 1656), and recorded as such in the artist’s illustrated record of commissions (the Liber Veritatis), the picture was in the collection of the Earls of Portarlington, probably by the late 18th century, and by the late 19th century in that of the famous English retailer WH Smith.
Lorrain (1600-1682) is considered one of the finest landscape painters of the 17th century. He spent most of his life in Italy, and is admired for his achievements in landscape painting. His career spans almost the entire century – his earliest datable works are from the end of the 1620s – and he witnessed almost all the main changes of artistic style during his long stay in Rome. Claude was widely imitated for almost two centuries, and therefore often produces in the popular imagination a feeling of déjà-vu, especially in his best-known compositions.