43. Alexandre Calame

Vevey 1810 – 1864 Menton

Boulders by a Lake, 1857-1861

Alongside his teacher François Diday (cat. 22), Alexandre Calame is considered one of Switzerland’s leading landscape painters, and was best known for his dramatic paintings of the Swiss Alps. These alpine views followed a kind of formula of sharp-angled snowy peaks and tall pines, but they were enlivened by the addition of details taken from closely observed nature studies such as Boulders by a Lake. With extraordinary virtuosity and a high degree of realism, Calame captures the shifts in tone and colour as the sun illuminates the surfaces of the rocks and boulders. Their striking shapes stand out against the green of the middle ground and the clear water of the lake. The schematically depicted distant shoreline appears veiled in a misty haze, and emphasizes the crisp, clear quality of the light which lends three-dimensionality to the arrangement of rocks in the foreground.