French, Flemish and Dutch Painting 1600–1700
Paintings of troops, battles and hunts were popular with patrons across Europe in the 17th century. In many cases, the paintings served as reminders of military triumphs or other historical events. The French artist Joseph Parrocel achieved fame with his vivid, energetic depictions of battles and hunts, while Flemish artist Adam-François van der Meulen specialised in more sedate depictions of battles scenes and ceremonial processions of kings and the nobility.
Although born in France, Claude Lorrain spent nearly his entire career in Italy, painting real and imaginary scenes of the countryside around Rome. Italy – and Claude’s lyrical interpretations of it – was likewise a strong influence on many Dutch artists, who infused their landscapes with the light and atmosphere of the Roman campagna.
The three Le Nain brothers – French artists who worked in such close collaboration that their individual hands cannot be distinguished – looked closer to home for inspiration, producing small-scale portraits and intimate scenes of peasant life.