This majestic painting is thought to be the largest by Claude now existing.

On the left are the wooded slopes of Mount Helicon, where Apollo, attended by the Muses, plays his lyre while five mortals approach from the right to listen. Above, in front of a temple, a kneeling figure is being crowned with a wreath, and Pegasus strikes the spring Hippocrene from beneath his hooves. Beyond is a wide, sunlit landscape of great beauty, in which the shape of the distant mountain recalls that of Mount Soracte near Rome, once sacred to Apollo. It is a welcome acquisition for the National Gallery of Scotland, because there was previously no painting by Claude in the permanent collection.


Painted for Cardinal Pamophili, Rome, 1652; Lord George Cavendish, Holker Hall, Lancashire, by 1777.

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