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Alexandre Calame, Chalets at Rigi

Key facts
Full title Chalets at Rigi
Artist Alexandre Calame
Artist dates 1810 - 1864
Date made 1861
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 40.6 × 62.2 cm
Inscription summary signed
Acquisition credit Presented by Mr Asbjørn Lunde through the American Friends of the National Gallery in recognition of the directorship of Sir Nicholas Penny, 2020
Inventory number NG6688
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Chalets at Rigi
Alexandre Calame

A mountain massif in central Switzerland, Mount Rigi rises above the waters of Lakes Lucerne, Zug and Lauerz, its main summit reaching some 1,800 metres above sea level. This view is from Mount Rigi itself, looking west over Lake Lucerne to Mount Pilatus. To the left stands the Bürgenstock, with the Stanserhorn behind. The long shadows thrown by the foreground chalets suggest a time in the late afternoon.

Calame spent several days on Mount Rigi in 1858. This view, one of four versions known, is a finished study most probably worked up from sketches he made on the spot. The foreground is a study in light and shade, the ruined and abandoned chalets deep in shadow apart from the brilliant sunlight falling on their roofs, the whole painted in crisp brushwork. By contrast, the handling of the misty backdrop of water and mountains is softer, and pearly blues and purples are used to convey their atmospheric veiling.

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