The Art of Nicolas Poussin


Page 5 (123-154)

Paintings: (1-31) . (32-61) . (62-94) . (95-122) . (123-154) . (155-186) . (187-216) . (217-248).. (249-280) . Drawings: (1-40) . (41-80) . (81-120) . (121-160)

Mars and Venus.
Oil on canvas.
154.9 x 213.7 cm (61 x 84 1/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
Augustus Hemenway Fund and Arthur William Wheelwright Fund 40.89

Location: William I. Koch Gallery (European Painting 1500–1700) 

Description: Poussin was the foremost French painter of the seventeenth century, although he spent almost his entire career in Rome. His restrained and idealizing style, inspired by the art of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, influenced the course of French painting for three hundred years. This allegory of the triumph of love over war shows Mars, god of war, enraptured by Venus, goddess of love, while her attendant Cupids make playthings of his weapons and armor. In its harmonious landscape, warm tonalities, and sensuous mood, this early work demonstrates Poussin's deep admiration of painters of the Venetian Renaissance.

Provenance/Ownership History: Please note: The history of ownership is not definitive or comprehensive, as it is under constant review and revision by MFA curators and researchers. The information in this file is being reviewed and will be corrected and updated as research progresses.

Cassiano dal Pozzo (d.1657), Rome, Italy [see note 1]; by descent to his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (d. 1689); by descent to his son Gabriele dal Pozzo (d. 1695); by descent to his widow, Anna Teresa, (later the Marchesa Lancellotti); about 1703, on her remarriage, to her son Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo; 1730, probably sold by Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo to Henry Furness (d. 1756), Gunnersbury Park, England; by descent to his sister; Feburuary 4, 1758, sold at the Furness sale, London, lot 55, and bought by Simon Harcourt, 1st Earl Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1777); 1777, by inheritance to George Simon Harcourt, 2nd Earl Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1809); 1809, by inheritance to William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1830); 1830, by inheritance to the Rev. Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1847); 1847, by inheritance to George Granville Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1861); 1861, by inheritance to the Rev. William Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1871); 1871, by inheritance to Edward William Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1891); 1891, by inheritance to Aubrey Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1904); 1904, by inheritance to Sir William George Granville Vernon Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1904); 1904, by inheritance to Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1922); 1922, by inheritance to William Edward Harcourt, 2nd Viscount Harcourt, Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England (d.1940); 1940, sold by William Edward Harcourt, through Roland and Delbanco, London, to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 11, 1940)

[1] Some scholars have conjectured that Cassiano dal Pozzo was the original commissioner of this painting. See E. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts," 1998, p. 40.
Mercury, Herse, and Aglaurus
at Paris, Ecole nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts
Midas at The Source of The Pactolus
Midas Bathing in Pactolus.
Oil on canvas.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Midas Washing at the Source of the Pactolus,
Oil on canvas; 38 3/8 x 28 5/8 in. (97.5 x 72.7 cm)
Purchase, 1871 (71.56) Note: Same painting with different dates assigned.

Poussin was drawn to the story of Midas, an allegory of vanity (Ovid, Metamorphoses XI:100–145). Bacchus offered Midas a gift, and the king asked that everything he touched be turned to gold. Soon realizing that he could neither eat nor drink, he asked to be relieved of the gift, and Bacchus sent him to wash it away in the Pactolus River. Partly submerged in water, Midas is dominated here by the personification of a river god. The picture was painted not long after Poussin arrived in Rome in 1624.
Midas Washing at the Source of The Pactolus,
oil on canvas
collection of Count Lothar Zu Dohna.JPG
Midas and Bacchus.
Oil on canvas.
1626-1628. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.jpg
Nicolas Poussin, copy after Bacchanale Before a Temple,
16th - 17th
Numa Pompilius and The Nymph Egeria
at Chantilly Musee conde
Nymph and Satyr Drinking (colour)
Nymph and Satyr Drinking
at Madrid Museo Del Prado
Pan and Syrinx
Nymph on the back of a Satyr

Self-Portrait. 1649.
Oil on canvas.
Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
Self Portrait. 1650.
Renaud and Armide.
Oil on canvas.
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK.
Renaud and Armide.
c. 1625-26.
Oil on canvas.
37-1/2 x 52-1/2 inches
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art,
Moscow, Russia.

This painting depicts an episode in a popular literary source for seventeenth-century French and Italian painters, Jerusalem Delivered (1575), an epic tale of the capture of Jerusalem by Christian powers during the Middle Ages. Poussin depicts the moment when Armida, a sorceress enlisted to kill the handsome Christian knight Rinaldo, instead falls in love with him.
Sleeping Venus and Cupid
St Cecilia
Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man,
Oil on canvas;
49 1/2 x 65 in. (125.7 x 165.1 cm)
Marquand Fund, 1924 (24.45.2)

At the temple in Jerusalem where the old and infirm beg alms, Peter and John cure a cripple (Acts III:1–10): "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." The composition recalls Raphael, and the gestures of the central group are reminiscent of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel. The picture was painted in 1655 for a Monseur Mercier of Lyons.
St. John Baptizing.
Oil on canvas.
Louvre, Paris, France
Mars and Rhea Slyvia Copy of Original
Marsyas and Olympus
c. 1626
Massacre of The Innocents
Massacre of The Innocents 2.
Meleager's Hunt
c. 1638-40
Ordination Christ with The
c. 1625-27
Queen Zenobia Found On The Nile

Paintings: (1-30) . (31-60) . (61-90) . (91-120) . (121-150) . (151-180) . (181-210) . (211-248). (249-280) . Drawings: (1-40) . (41-80) . (81-120) . (121-160)