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Claude, A Seaport

Key facts
Full title A Seaport
Artist Claude
Artist dates 1604/5? - 1682
Date made 1644
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 103 × 131 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG5
Location Room 31
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Seaport

This warm, tranquil port scene is bathed in sunlight: the clock on the building to the left records the time as five o'clock. A coat of arms with three golden fleurs-de-lis (emblem of the French king) above the clock and on the ship’s flags to the right suggests this painting was intended for a French patron. In the foreground, many of the figures glance towards this ship: the group of well-dressed men to the left are in conversation while others work hard or watch those gathered at the port.

This painted seaport is an imaginary scene, although the architecture is based on sixteenth-century buildings in Rome. The most distant building combines features taken from the Villa Farnesina and Palazzo Senatorio. The ornate entrance to the building in the foreground is inspired by the gateway to the Farnese gardens. Between these two buildings stands the Arch of Titus, an ancient Roman landmark.

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