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Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula. Oil on Canvas
Original 1804 copy of the 1641 canvas painted by Claude Gellée for Fausto Poli, secretary to Pope Urban VIII. The original is in the National Gallery, London.
Original oil on Canvas, painted c1804 after Claude Gellée (Claude Lorrain) Framed in gilt Empire style frame.
This painting dating from 1804 is a copy of the 1641 canvas painted by Claude Gellée for Fausto Poli, secretary to Pope Urban VIII.
During the 18th-century Grand Tour, Claude’s paintings became very popular with Scottish and English aristocrats who bought many of his works.
At the time this copy was created, the original Claude Gellée painting was in the collection of John Julius Angerstein; a London businessman and Lloyd's under-writer, who was a collector and patron of the fine arts. His influential friends included, king George III, British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, Lord Nelson and artist Sir Thomas Lawrence. After his death in 1823, Angerstein’s collection of paintings was sold by his estate and they became the cornerstone for the founding of the National Gallery, London, where the original painting remains to this day.
Saint Ursula was the daughter of the King of Britain, Donaut of Dumnonia. When Ursula was engaged to the pagan governor, Conan Meriadoc of Armorica, she set sail to meet her future husband with 11,000 virgins! Like most good Christian martyrs, Ursula was devoted to her virginity and loath to marry a pagan man, so to stall for time she declared that she would take an around-Europe pilgrimage. After stopping over in Rome and explaining her problem to the ecclesiastical authorities, Ursula and her troops headed over to Cologne, which was unfortunately under siege by the Huns at that time. Some versions of the legend hold that the King of the Huns was mesmerized by Ursula's beauty and was determined to take her as a wife; when she refused, he shot her through the heart with an arrow, and the rest of the virgins were similarly slaughtered. Saint Ursula's feast day is October 21. The painting, a scene is one of utter calm and tranquillity depicts the moment when Ursula and her maidens are about to depart Rome for Cologne. Saint Ursula is identifiable as the figure holding the flag while some of her maidens are equipped with the bows and arrows that are the symbols of their martyrdom. The foreground is busy with the various activities of the seamen and maidens as they prepare for departure, while the classical architecture to the left is based on the Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, Rome.