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Francisque Millet, Mountain Landscape with Lightning

Key facts
Full title Mountain Landscape with Lightning
Artist Francisque Millet
Artist dates 1642 - 1679
Date made about 1675
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 97.3 × 127.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought (Clarke Fund), 1945
Inventory number NG5593
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Mountain Landscape with Lightning
Francisque Millet

Two people, one draped in bright yellow and blue, take us from their high viewpoint into this dramatic landscape. A river leads from the bottom left corner, through a rocky gorge, to the lake in the middle distance, set in a valley below snow-covered mountains. A storm has broken over the peaceful meadows at the lake shore: from a swiftly moving rain cloud, a jagged shaft of lightning cuts across the sky.

We don't know whether the picture illustrates an episode from a particular narrative. The landscape combines natural observation with imaginary details. In the valley, there is a small settlement with the type of Romanesque church tower found in some French villages, as well as a classical arch of the kind seen in Rome. Bathed in sunlight, the foreground scene leads our eye in a zigzag across the composition and towards the valley and the distant blue mountains.

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