A Claude Glass, so called because the effect was thought to recall the paintings of Claude Lorrain, is a slightly convex dark mirror used by artists and tourists in the 18th Century to view the landscape. The convexity of the mirror condenses the view into a manageable composition, and the dark tint exaggerates its relative tonal values. With the advent of photography and a privileging of direct observation in art, the Claude Glass was all but forgotten; a few survived as curiosities. The one exhibited here is a shattered relic reflecting a dark broken view of a small idealized landscape.

Broken Claude Glass, Ellen Harvey, 2010. Claude glass in case and oil on wood panel, closed case: 6 x 4 x ½” (15.2 x 10.2 x 1.3 cm); oil on wood panel: 6 x 4″ (15.2 x 10.2 cm). Photograph: Ellen Harvey Studio.