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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 Room 29
Art route(s) B
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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