Nicolas Poussin
Overview
Nicolas Poussin was a French painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 in the classical
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

 style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

.

He spent most of his working life in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.
Nicolas Poussin's early biographer was his friend Giovanni Pietro Bellori, who relates that Poussin was born near Les Andelys
Les Andelys
Les Andelys is a commune in the Eure department in Haute-Normandie in northern France.-Geography:It lies on the Seine, about 35 km northeast of Évreux.The commune is divided into two parts, Grand-Andely and Petit-Andely.-Population:-Sights:...

 in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 and that he received an education that included some Latin, which would stand him in good stead.
Encyclopedia
Nicolas Poussin was a French painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 in the classical
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

 style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

.

He spent most of his working life in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.

Early career

Nicolas Poussin's early biographer was his friend Giovanni Pietro Bellori, who relates that Poussin was born near Les Andelys
Les Andelys
Les Andelys is a commune in the Eure department in Haute-Normandie in northern France.-Geography:It lies on the Seine, about 35 km northeast of Évreux.The commune is divided into two parts, Grand-Andely and Petit-Andely.-Population:-Sights:...

 in Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 and that he received an education that included some Latin, which would stand him in good stead. Early sketches attracted the notice of Quentin Varin, a local painter, whose pupil Poussin became, until he ran away to Paris at the age of eighteen. There he entered the studios of the Flemish
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 painter Ferdinand Elle and then of Georges Lallemand, both minor masters now remembered for having tutored Poussin. He found French art
French art
French art consists of the visual and plastic arts originating from the geographical area of France...

 in a stage of transition: the old apprenticeship system was disturbed, and the academic training
Academic art
Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism,...

 destined to supplant it was not yet established by Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France.-Life:...

; but having met Courtois
Courtois
- Persons :* Antoine Courtois, French manufacturer of brass instruments* Jacques Courtois, French painter * Guillaume Courtois, French painter * Guy Courtois, Canadian doctor...

 the mathematician
Mathematician
A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

, Poussin was fired by the study of his collection of engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi
Marcantonio Raimondi
Marcantonio Raimondi, also simply Marcantonio, was an Italian engraver, known for being the first important printmaker whose body of work consists mainly of prints copying paintings. He is therefore a key figure in the rise of the reproductive print...

 after Italian masters.

After two abortive attempts to reach Rome, he fell in with Giambattista Marino, the court poet to Marie de Medici, at Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

. Marino employed him on illustrations to his poem Adone (untraced) and on a series of illustrations for a projected edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Metamorphoses (poem)
Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature...

, took him into his household, and in 1624 enabled Poussin (who had been detained by commissions in Lyon and Paris) to rejoin him at Rome. It has been suggested that it was this early friendship with Marino, and the commissioning of illustrations of his poetry (which drew on Ovidian themes), that founded, or at least reinforced, the prominent eroticism in Poussin's early work.

Early years in Rome

Poussin was thirty when he arrived in Rome. At first he lodged with Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet
Simon Vouet was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France.-Life:...

. Through Marino, he had been introduced to Marcello Sacchetti who in turn introduced him to another of his early patrons, Cardinal Francesco Barberini
Francesco Barberini (seniore)
Francesco Barberini was an Italian Catholic Cardinal. The nephew of Pope Urban VIII , he benefited immensely from the nepotism practiced by his uncle...

. Financial difficulties arose with the departure to Spain of Barberini, accompanied by Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo was an Italian scholar and patron of arts. The secretary of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, he was an antiquary in the classicizing circle of Rome, and a long-term friend and patron of Nicolas Poussin, whom he supported from his earliest arrival in Rome: Poussin in a letter...

, the antiquarian and the Cardinal's secretary, who later would become a great friend and patron. However, their return from Spain in 1626 stabilized Poussin’s position, with renewed patronage by the Barberini and their circle. Two major commissions at this period resulted in Poussin's early masterwork, the Barberini Death of Germanicus (1628), partly inspired by the reliefs of the Meleager sarcophagus, and the commission for St. Peter's that amounted to a public debut, the Martyrdom of St. Erasmus (1629, Vatican Pinacoteca), indebted to designs on the same subject by the contemporary Baroque painter, Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona, by the name of Pietro Berrettini, born Pietro Berrettini da Cortona, was the leading Italian Baroque painter of his time and also one of the key architects in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture. He was also an important decorator...

. He fell ill at this time and was taken into the house of his compatriot Jacques Dughet, where he was nursed by Dughet’s daughter, Anna Maria, who Poussin married in 1630. His two brothers-in-law were artists and Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet , also known as Gaspard Poussin, was a French painter born in Rome.A pupil of Nicolas Poussin, Gaspard Dughet was the brother of Poussin's wife...

 later took Poussin’s surname.
During the late 1620s and 1630s, he had the opportunity to experiment and formulate his own stance in painting with reference to others which he did through study of the Antique and works such as Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

’s Bacchanals at the Casino Ludovisi and the paintings of Domenichino and Guido Reni
Guido Reni
Guido Reni was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that...

. At the same time, the Roman Baroque was emerging: in the 1620s Cortona was producing his early Baroque paintings for the Sacchetti family; Bernini, having established his reputation in sculpture, was designing the great bronze baldachin
Baldachin
A baldachin, or baldaquin , is a canopy of state over an altar or throne. It had its beginnings as a cloth canopy, but in other cases it is a sturdy, permanent architectural feature, particularly over high altars in cathedrals, where such a structure is more correctly called a ciborium when it is...

 in St. Peter’s; and an ingenious architectural imagination was emerging in works by Borromini.

Poussin became acquainted with other artists in Rome and tended to befriend those with classicizing artistic leanings: the French sculptor François Duquesnoy
François Duquesnoy
François Duquesnoy was a Baroque sculptor in Rome. His more idealized representations are often contrasted with the emotional character of Bernini's works, while his style shows greater affinity to Algardi's sculptures....

 whom he lodged with in 1626; the French artist Jacques Stella
Jacques Stella
-Life:Stella was born in Lyon. His father was François Stella, a painter and merchant of Flemish origin, but he died too soon to train Jacques in painting. Jacques's siblings included François , Françoise and Madeleine...

; Claude Lorraine; Domenichino; Andrea Sacchi
Andrea Sacchi
Andrea Sacchi was an Italian painter of High Baroque Classicism, active in Rome. A generation of artists who shared his style of art include the painters Nicolas Poussin and Giovanni Battista Passeri, the sculptors Alessandro Algardi and François Duquesnoy, and the contemporary biographer Giovanni...

; and joined an informal academy
Academy
An academy is an institution of higher learning, research, or honorary membership.The name traces back to Plato's school of philosophy, founded approximately 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill, north of Athens, Greece. In the western world academia is the...

 of artists and patrons opposed to the current Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style that formed around Joachim von Sandrart
Joachim von Sandrart
Joachim von Sandrart was a German Baroque art-historian and painter, active in Amsterdam during the Dutch Golden Age.-Biography:Sandrart was born in Frankfurt, but the family originated from Mons...

.

At the time the papacy was Rome’s foremost patron of the arts. Poussin’s Martyrdom of St. Erasmus for St. Peter’s was Poussin’s only papal commission, secured for him by Cardinal Barberini, the papal nephew, and Poussin was not asked again to contribute major altarpieces or paint large scale decorations for a pope. His subsequent career depended on private patronage. Apart from Cardinal Francesco Barberini, his first patrons included Cardinal Luigi Omodei
Cardinals created by Innocent X
Pope Innocent X created 40 cardinals in 8 consistories:- 14 November 1644 :* Camillo Francesco Maria Pamphilj, nephew of the Pope – cardinal-deacon of S...

, for whom he produced the Triumphs of Flora (c 1630–32, Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

); Cardinal de Richelieu, who commissioned various Bacchanals; Vincenzo Giustiniani
Vincenzo Giustiniani
thumb|upright|Vincenzo Giustiniani in a portrait by [[Nicolas Régnier]] Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani was an aristocratic Italian banker, art collector and intellectual of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, known today largely for the Giustiniani art collection, assembled at Palazzo...

, for whom he painted the Massacre of the Innocents (uncertain early date, Museé Condé, Chantilly); Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo
Cassiano dal Pozzo was an Italian scholar and patron of arts. The secretary of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, he was an antiquary in the classicizing circle of Rome, and a long-term friend and patron of Nicolas Poussin, whom he supported from his earliest arrival in Rome: Poussin in a letter...

 who became the owner of the first series of the Seven Sacraments (late 1630s, Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Castle is a stately home in the English county of Leicestershire, overlooking the Vale of Belvoir . It is a Grade I listed building....

); and Paul Fréart de Chantelou
Paul Fréart de Chantelou
Paul Fréart de Chantelou was a French collector. He patronised and encouraged major artists of his era, in particular Nicolas Poussin and Gian Lorenzo Bernini .-Chantelou and Poussin:...

, with whom Poussin, at the call of Sublet de Noyers, returned to France in 1640.

Poussin in France

Louis XIII
Louis XIII of France
Louis XIII was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1610 to 1643.Louis was only eight years old when he succeeded his father. His mother, Marie de Medici, acted as regent during Louis' minority...

 conferred on him the title of First Painter in Ordinary. In two years at Paris he produced several pictures for the royal chapels (the Last Supper, painted for Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

, now in the Louvre), eight cartoons for the Gobelins
Gobelins manufactory
The Manufacture des Gobelins is a tapestry factory located in Paris, France, at 42 avenue des Gobelins, near the Les Gobelins métro station in the XIIIe arrondissement...

 tapestry manufactory, the series of the Labors of Hercules for the Louvre, the Triumph of Truth for Cardinal Richelieu (Louvre), and much minor work.

In 1642, disgusted by the intrigues of Simon Vouet, Fouquières and the architect Jacques Lemercier
Jacques Lemercier
Jacques Lemercier was a French architect and engineer, one of the influential trio that included Louis Le Vau and François Mansart who formed the classicizing French Baroque manner, drawing from French traditions of the previous century and current Roman practice the fresh, essentially French...

, Poussin withdrew to Rome. There, in 1648, he finished for de Chantelou
Paul Fréart de Chantelou
Paul Fréart de Chantelou was a French collector. He patronised and encouraged major artists of his era, in particular Nicolas Poussin and Gian Lorenzo Bernini .-Chantelou and Poussin:...

 the second series of the Seven Sacraments (Bridgewater Gallery), and also his noble Landscape with Diogenes (Louvre). This painting shows the philosopher discarding his last worldly possession, his cup, after watching a man drink water by cupping his hands. In 1649 he painted the Vision of St Paul (Louvre) for the comic poet Paul Scarron
Paul Scarron
Paul Scarron was a French poet, dramatist, and novelist. His precise birthdate is unknown, but he was baptized on July 4, 1610...

, and in 1651 the Holy Family (Louvre) for the duc de Créquy
Créquy family
-Origins:Créquy , is a French family which originated in Artois, and took its name from a small lordship of Créquy, in the present Pas-de-Calais...

. Year by year he continued to produce an enormous variety of works, many of which are included in the list given by Félibien.

He suffered from declining health after 1650, and was troubled by a worsening tremor in his hand, evidence of which is apparent in his late drawings. He died in Rome on 19 November 1665 and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina
San Lorenzo in Lucina
The Church of St Lawrence's at Lucina is a Roman Catholic parish and titular church and minor basilica in Rome, Italy, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, Roman deacon and martyr. The name Lucina comes from the Roman matron owner of the house on which the church was built.The current Cardinal Priest of...

, his wife having predeceased him. Chateaubriand in 1820 donated the monument to Poussin.

Poussin left no children, but he adopted as his son Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet
Gaspard Dughet , also known as Gaspard Poussin, was a French painter born in Rome.A pupil of Nicolas Poussin, Gaspard Dughet was the brother of Poussin's wife...

 (Gasparo Duche), his wife's brother, who became a painter and took the name of Poussin.

Works

Throughout his life Poussin stood apart from the popular tendency toward the decorative in French art of his time. In Poussin's works a survival of the impulses of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 is coupled with conscious reference to the art of classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 as the standard of excellence. His goal was clarity of expression achieved by disegno or ‘nobility of design’ in preference to colore or color. Perhaps his concern with disegno can best be seen in the line engraved copies of his works; among the many who reproduced his paintings, some of the most successful are Audran
Audran
The Audrans were a family of French artists, natives of Paris and Lyons.*Charles Audran I *Claude Audran I *Germain Audran , son of Charles I*Claude Audran II , nephew of Charles I...

, Claudine Stella, Picart
Bernard Picart
Bernard Picart , was a French engraver, son of Etienne Picart, also an engraver. He was born in Paris and died in Amsterdam. He moved to Antwerp in 1696, and then spent a year in Amsterdam before returning to France at the end of 1698...

 and Pesne.

Themes of tragedy and death are prevalent in Poussin's work. Et in Arcadia ego
Et in Arcadia ego
"Et in Arcadia ego" is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as the title of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin . They are pastoral paintings depicting idealized shepherds from classical antiquity, clustering around an austere tomb...

, a subject he painted twice (second version is seen at right), exemplifies his cerebral approach. In this composition, idealized shepherds examine a tomb inscribed with the title phrase, which is usually interpreted as a memento mori
Memento mori
Memento mori is a Latin phrase translated as "Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die" or "Remember you will die". It names a genre of artistic work which varies widely, but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their own mortality...

: "Even in Arcadia I exist", as if spoken by personified Death
Death (personification)
The concept of death as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of history. In English, Death is often given the name Grim Reaper and, from the 15th century onwards, came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood...

. Poussin intended his figures to "display the most distilled and most typical attitude and emotion for the role they were playing", but he was concerned with emotion "in a generalized and not specific way ... Thus in both compositions of Et in Arcadia Ego (Chatsworth and Louvre) the theme is the realization of death in life. The specific models hardly matter. We are not intended to have sympathy with them and instead we are forced by the artist to think on the theme."

Poussin is an important figure in the development of landscape
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

 painting. In his early paintings the landscape usually forms a graceful background for a group of figures; later he progressed to the painting of landscape for its own sake, although the figure is never entirely absent. Examples are Landscape with St. John on Patmos (1640), (Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

) and Landscape with a Roman Road (1648), (Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery
Dulwich Picture Gallery is an art gallery in Dulwich, South London. England's first purpose-built public art gallery, it was designed by Regency architect Sir John Soane and opened to the public in 1817. Soane arranged the exhibition spaces as a series of interlinked rooms illuminated naturally...

).

The finest collection of Poussin's paintings is at the Louvre in Paris. Other significant collections are in the National Gallery in London; the National Gallery of Scotland; the Dulwich Picture Gallery; the Musée Condé, Chantilly
Château de Chantilly
The Château de Chantilly is a historic château located in the town of Chantilly, France. It comprises two attached buildings; the Grand Château, destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 1870s, and the Petit Château which was built around 1560 for Anne de Montmorency...

; the Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

, St. Petersburg; and the Museo del Prado
Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of...

, Madrid.

Poussin was a prolific artist. Among his many works are:
  • Some of the paintings by Poussin at the Louvre
    Louvre
    The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

    , Paris:
    • The Plague at Ashdod (1630)
    • Les Bergers d’Arcadie (late 1630s)
    • The Judgement of Solomon (1649)
    • The Blind Men of Jericho (1650)
    • The Adulteress (1653)
    • The Four Seasons
      The Four Seasons (Poussin)
      The Four Seasons was the last set of four oil paintings completed by the French painter Nicolas Poussin . The set was painted in Rome between 1660 and 1664 for the Duc de Richelieu, the nephew of Cardinal Richelieu. Each painting is an elegaic landscape with Old Testament figures conveying the...

      (series) (1660–1664)

  • A few of Poussin’s other paintings:
    • Adoration of the Golden Calf (National Gallery, London
      National Gallery, London
      The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

      )
    • Holy Family on the Steps (Cleveland Museum of Art
      Cleveland Museum of Art
      The Cleveland Museum of Art is an art museum situated in the Wade Park District, in the University Circle neighborhood on Cleveland's east side. Internationally renowned for its substantial holdings of Asian and Egyptian art, the museum houses a diverse permanent collection of more than 43,000...

      )
    • Cacus
      Cacus
      In Roman mythology, Cacus was a fire-breathing giant monster and the son of Vulcan.-Mythology:Cacus lived in a cave in the Palatine Hill in Italy, the future site of Rome. To the horror of nearby inhabitants, Cacus lived on human flesh and would nail the heads of victims to the doors of his cave...

      (St. Petersburg)
    • The Testament of Eudamidas (Copenhagen)
    • Hymenaios Disguised as a Woman During an Offering to Priapus (1634)
    • Tancred and Erminia, second version (Barber Institute
      Barber Institute of Fine Arts
      The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is an art gallery and concert hall in Birmingham, England. It is situated in purpose-built premises on the campus of the University of Birmingham....

      , Birmingham
      Birmingham
      Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

      )
    • The Rape of the Sabine Women (1636)
    • The Destruction of Jerusalem (1637)
    • Hebrews Gathering Manna (1639)
    • A Dance to the Music of Time
      A Dance to the Music of Time (painting)
      A Dance to the Music of Time is a painting by Nicolas Poussin. It was produced between 1634 and 1636 as a commission for Giulio Rospigliosi , who probably dictated its detailed iconography. It is best known for giving its name to the novel cycle of the same name...

      (1639–40), (Wallace Collection
      Wallace Collection
      The Wallace Collection is a museum in London, with a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries.It was established in...

      , London)
    • Ecstasy of Saint Paul (1643), (John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
      John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
      The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the state art museum of Florida, located in Sarasota, Florida. It was established in 1927 as the legacy of Mable and John Ringling for the people of Florida...

      , Sarasota, Florida
      Sarasota, Florida
      Sarasota is a city located in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. It is south of the Tampa Bay Area and north of Fort Myers...

      )
    • Moses Rescued from the Waters (1647)
    • Eliezer and Rebecca (1648)
    • The Funeral of Phocion
      The Funeral of Phocion
      thumb|right|350px|The National Museum Cardiff version.The Funeral of Phocion is a 1648 painting, also known as The Burial of Phocion, Landscape with the Funeral of Phocion and Landscape with the Body of Phocion Carried out of Athens, by French artist Nicolas Poussin. Phocion was an Athenian...

      (1648) (National Museum Cardiff
      National Museum Cardiff
      National Museum Cardiff is a museum and art gallery in Cardiff, Wales. The museum is part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales...

      )
    • Landscape with Polyphemus
      Landscape with Polyphemus
      Landscape with Polyphemus is a 1649 painting by Nicolas Poussin, a French painter. The painting refers to a Spanish literary work La Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea. It represents Polyphemus, one of the gods from Greek mythology....

      (1649)
    • Seven Sacraments
      Seven Sacraments (Poussin)
      The Seven Sacraments refers to two series of paintings of the seven sacraments by the French painter Nicholas Poussin.-First series:Painted between 1637 and 1640, the first series was commissioned by Cassiano del Pozzo in the second half of the 1630s and was sold to the Dukes of Rutland in 1784...

      (two separate series, see main article for details as to locations)
    • The Flight into Egypt
      The Flight into Egypt (Poussin painting)
      The Flight into Egypt is a painting by Nicolas Poussin painted in 1657 or 1658. It was originally kept in the Musée du Louvre, then was transferred to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.-History:...

      (1657, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
      Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon
      The Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon is a municipal museum of fine arts in the French city of Lyon. It is housed near place des Terreaux in a former Benedictine convent of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was restored between 1988 and 1998, and despite these important restoration works it remained open...

      )

Legacy

Initially, Poussin's genius was recognized only by small circles of collectors. (In the two decades following his death, a particularly large collection of his works was amassed by Louis XIV.) At the same time, it was recognized that he had contributed a new theme of "classical severity" to French art.

Benjamin West
Benjamin West
Benjamin West, RA was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence...

, an American painter of the 18th century who worked in Britain, based his canvas of the death of General Wolfe
James Wolfe
Major General James P. Wolfe was a British Army officer, known for his training reforms but remembered chiefly for his victory over the French in Canada...

 at Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 on Poussin's example. As a result, the image is one in which each character gazes with appropriate seriousness on Wolfe's death after securing British domination of North America.

Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

 resurrected a style already known as "Poussinesque" during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 in part because the leaders of the Revolution looked to replace the frivolity and oppression of the court with Republican severity and civic-mindedness, most obvious in David's dramatic canvas of Brutus
Brutus
Brutus is the cognomen of the Roman gens Junia, a prominent family of the Roman Republic. The plural of Brutus is Bruti, and the vocative form is Brute, as immortalized in the quotation "Et tu, Brute?", from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar....

 receiving the bodies of his sons, sacrificed to his own principles, and the famous death of Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat , born in the Principality of Neuchâtel, was a physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution...

.

Throughout the 19th century, Poussin, available to the ordinary person's gaze because the Revolution had opened the collections of the Louvre, was inspirational for thoughtful and self-reflexive artists who pondered their own work methods, notably Cézanne, who strove to "recreate Poussin after nature", and the Post-Impressionists. In addition to formal considerations, also appealing was the eroticism of some of Poussin's classicizing subjects.

In the twentieth century art critics have suggested that the "analytic Cubist" experiments of Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 and Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque[p] was a major 20th century French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed the art style known as Cubism.-Early Life:...

 were founded upon Poussin's example. In 1963 Picasso based a series of paintings on Poussin's The Rape of the Sabine Women. The work of Jean Hugo
Jean Hugo
Victor Jean Hugo is a South African professional golfer.Hugo matriculated at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch, South Africa in 1994 and graduated three years later with a BA Degree from the University of Stellenbosch prior to becoming a professional golfer...

 was also influenced by Poussin.

The most famous 20th-century scholar of Poussin was the Englishman Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Frederick Blunt , was a British art historian who was exposed as a Soviet spy late in his life.Blunt was Professor of the History of Art at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and London...

, Keeper of the Queen's Pictures, who in 1979 was disgraced by revelations of his complicity with Soviet intelligence.

Today, Poussin's paintings at the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 reside in a gallery dedicated to him.

See also

  • Baroque
    Baroque
    The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

  • Et in Arcadia ego
    Et in Arcadia ego
    "Et in Arcadia ego" is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as the title of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin . They are pastoral paintings depicting idealized shepherds from classical antiquity, clustering around an austere tomb...

  • History of painting
    History of painting
    The history of painting reaches back in time to artifacts from pre-historic humans, and spans all cultures. It represents a continuous, though periodically disrupted tradition from Antiquity. Across cultures, and spanning continents and millennia, the history of painting is an ongoing river of...

  • List of Nicolas Poussin paintings
  • Western painting
    Western painting
    The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity. Until the mid-19th century it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor.Developments...


Exhibitions

  • Paris 1960. "Poussin peintre: retrospectif." Galvanized the renewed interest in Poussin.
  • Fort Worth 1988. "Poussin: The Early Years in Rome: The Origins of French Classicism."
  • New York City 2008. "Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions." Metropolitan Museum of Art; Poussin's landscapes.

External links

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