Study of an Oak Tree, Claude Lorrain
Roughly 13 x 9 inches (33 x 22 cm), pen and brown ink, brown wash, over graphite.
Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version here, as part of this article on the Claudian Landscape; original is in the British Museum.
17th century French painter Claude Lorrain was one of the most influential landscape painters in Western Art, and his classical landscapes inspired painters for generations after. His influence on John Constable, for example, was considerable, and this drawing may have been direct inspiration for one of Constable’s own location oil sketches (as seen in this post on Constable, in the seventh image down).
Claude composed his large landscape paintings in the studio, but based their naturalistic details on field drawings. This one is perhaps more finished than most, with a beautiful composition of its own, a keen observation of detail and a wonderful sense of atmospheric perspective and distance.
I love how he has “turned” the form of the tree trunk, with the dimly lit ivy on the left edge leading into deeper shadow, through the subdued middle tones and out to the brightly lit bark at the right.