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Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg RA, Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on

Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on, 1781

Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg RA (1740 - 1812)

RA Collection: Art

Trained in France, De Loutherbourg brought with him to England a sophisticated understanding of the classical landscape, as propounded by Claude Lorrain and Nicholas Poussin. However, possibly influenced by Thomas Gainsborough and 17th century Dutch landscapes, he gradually eschewed grander subjects and scenes for more rural landscapes. In Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on, De Loutherbourg focuses the spectator’s attention on the foreground, where the figures and animals instinctively sit near the protective branches of the trees, in anticipation of the approaching storm. Beyond this peaceful group the eye is then led by the gently sloping contours of the landscape to the storm on the horizon.

By 1781 De Loutherbourg had had a great deal of experience designing theatrical backdrops and stage scenery, and this possibly influenced his landscapes, in that he was able to render effectively different kinds of weather and light. This work is given a heightened sense of reality by De Loutherbourg’s ability to capture the atmospheric conditions caused by the approaching storm, with the glowing light in the sky and the storm clouds building up in the distance.

Object details

Landscape with cattle and figures, a storm coming on
Object type
Oil on canvas

900 mm x 1464 mm x 25 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Diploma Work given by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg RA accepted 1781

Associated works of art

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