Born: 1595


The Paintings of



Nicolas Poussin

Above: Martyrdom of St Lawrence 1622-23
Possibly the earliest example of Poussin's work we have.

Attributed to Poussin by Christopher Wright and is catalogue #L46 (lost 46) with Anthony Blunt
This scene shows the saint at the moment of his martyrdom, when he was roasted on a grill by order of the Roman Emperor, Valerian (third century A.D.).

Saint Laurence is one of the martyrs most venerated by the Catholic Church since the fourth century, and the numerous legends about his life and death have led to some confusion as to the truth of this story, which mixes oral tradition and later written sources. All the same, his role as deacon to Pope Sixtus II and his condemnation to death for protecting the belongings and archives of the Church are affirmed with certitude.

Valentin presents the saint almost nude, without the deacon's cap with which he is usually depicted. It is the moment of his martyrdom and he is surrounded by his executioners and diverse spectators, some of whom wear modern armor that doesn't correspond to the period when that saint died.

The technique employed, with strong and intense chiaroscuros, adds greater drama to the composition, which is already
made powerful by the movement and crossing of its diagonal line
s.

Apparently painted by Valentin de Boulogne, Not sure how Chhristopher Wright could be so wrong

The most complete image collection on the web. Over 290 paintings for you to enjoy.

Page 1 (1-31)

Since November 9th, 2004


Died: 1664

Paintings: (1-31) . (32-61) . (62-94) . (95-122) . (123-154) .(155-186) . (187-216) . (217-248). (249-280) . (281-310) .Drawings: (1-40) . (41-80) . (81-120) . (121-160)

Links:
Poussin Quick Index (40 thumbnails per page). . . . .. . . . . . .
The Art of The French Renaissance . (under construction)
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The Abduction of the Sabine Women, probably 1633–34
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594–1665)
Oil on canvas; 60 7/8 x 82 5/8 in. (154.6 x 209.9 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1946 (46.160)

The first Romans invited the neighboring Sabines to Rome with the intention of forcibly retaining their young women as wives. Romulus raised his cloak as the prearranged signal for the warriors to seize the women. The mother, her babies, and an old woman in the foreground were captured accidentally in the turmoil. The yellow armor worn by the man at the right is modeled after a Roman "lorica," which was made of leather and reproduced the anatomy of the male torso. The painting belonged to the maréchal de Créquy and seems to date about June 1633 to July 1634, when he was French ambassador to Rome. A myth about the founding of Rome. To give his subjects wives, the founder of Rome, Romulus, abducted young unmarried women from a nearby tribe called the Sabines. The fathers of the women were outraged, and the Sabines retaliated by attacking the Romans. The abducted Sabine women, now apparently contented wives, intervened in the fighting and brought peace between their husbands and their fathers.
Achilles and Daughters of Lycomede. 1656. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.

Achilles, the Greek hero, son of Peleus, king of Phthia, and the goddess Thetis, daughter of Oceanus. His legend is among the richest and oldest in Greek mythology. Achilles was brought up under the guidance of Centaur Chiron, who was his teacher. Thetis, to make her son indestructible, bathed him in the Styx, the river of Underworld (Hell), and only the heel, by which Thetis held the boy, was untouched by the miracle waters and remained vulnerable. Thetis (or Peleus) learned the prophecy that Achilles would die in battle for Troy. To prevent his going to war, Thetis hid her son on Scyros, in the court of the king Lycomedes. She kept him among Lycomedes’ daughters; disguised as a girl. He lived with them for 9 years.
The disguise, however, did not cheat the Fate. She prompted to
Odysseus Achilles’ whereabouts. As the prophecy said that without Achilles the Greeks would never conquer Troy, Odysseus immediately hurried to Scyros. The Greeks brought rich gifts to the daughters of Lycomedes, but among the women’s garments and accessories they also put a spear and a sword. The girls were delighted. Then, by Odysseus’s sign, the horn played an alarm signal, the girls flew away, but Achilles seized the weapons. Thus his identity was revealed.

Achilles with the Daughters of Lacomede. 1656. Oil on canvas. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

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

Description: Knowing that her son was destined to die if he fought in the Trojan War, Achilles's mother disguised him as a woman and hid him on the island of Skyros among the daughters of King Lycomedes. Sent to find Achilles, the Greek chieftains Ulysses and Diomedes disguised themselves as merchants. As they hoped, Achilles gave himself away by snatching up a sword that they had concealed in their chests of jewelry and clothing. Poussin preferred psychological to physical drama; in this late work, a moment of revelation and recognition is presented by means of figures frozen into carefully structured, clearly legible poses.

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.

Lacurne de Sainte Palaye [see note 1]. By 1777, Prince de Conti, Paris; April 8-June 6, 1777, sold at Conti sale, Pierre Rémy, Paris, lot 531, and purchased by Pierre Rémy for Nicolas Beaujon [see note 2]; April 25 - May 4, 1787, sold at Beaujon sale, Paris, lot 83. Desmaretes. By 1819, John Knight, London; March 23, 1819, sold by John Knight at Phillips, London, lot 100. By 1837 until 1865, with Stephen Jarrett. By 1880, James Fenton, London; February 26 - February 28, 1880, sold by James Fenton at Christie's, London, lot 121, and bought by Hudson. By 1924, Anthony F. Reyre, London; 1924, from Anthony F. Reyre to D'Atri, Paris and Rome. By 1925, Wildenstein and Co., Paris and New York; 1946, sold by Wildenstein and Co. to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1946)

NOTES:

[1] See E. Zafran, "French Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," 1998, p. 43-46. [2] As discussed by E. Zafran, the early provenance of this painting has been confused with another painting by Poussin of the same subject now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. A sketch of the MFA painting by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin in a copy of the Conti sale catalogue, and the list of works acquired by P. Remy at the same sale for Nicolas Beaujon (as published in A. Masson, "Un Mécene bordelais, Nicolas Beaujon, 1718-1786," 1937, p. 200, no. 531), confirm the MFA painting's early provenance.
Acis and Galathea. 1626-1628.
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594–1665)Oil on canvas.
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Acis, the son of the Italic god Faunus and the Nymph Symaethis, gained the love of the Nereid, or the sea nymph, Galatea. Galatea had another admirer, Cyclopus Polyphermus, who loved her without any hope for success. He played for Galatea love songs on his pipes. Once he found her lying in the arms of Acis. In his intense jealousy, Polyphermus tried to crash his rival under rocks, but Acis turned himself into river and thus escaped from the giant.



The Adoration of the Golden Calf
1633-36
Oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

The Adoration of the Golden Calf was originally paired with the Crossing of the Red Sea now in Melbourne. Both illustrate episodes from Exodus in the Old Testament; this painting relates to chapter 32. In the wilderness of Sinai the children of Israel, disheartened by Moses' long absence, asked Aaron to make them gods to lead them. Having collected all their gold earrings, Aaron melted them down into the shape of a calf, which they worshipped. In the background on the left Moses and Joshua come down from Mount Sinai with the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Hearing singing and seeing 'the calf and the dancing...Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.' The tall bearded figure in white is Aaron still 'making proclamation' of a feast to the false god. 'The Adoration of the Golden Calf' and its companion piece, 'The Crossing of the Red Sea' were made for Amadeo dal Pozzo, a cousin of Poussin's major Roman patron, Cassiano dal Pozzo. The paintings stayed together until 1945 when the National Gallery acquired 'The Adoration'.

Poussin is said to have made little figures of clay to use as models, and the story is confirmed by the dancers in the foreground. They are a mirror image of a pagan group of nymphs and satyrs carousing in Poussin's earlier Bacchanalian Revel also in the National Gallery. Within a majestic landscape painted in the bold colours Poussin learned from Titian, before a huge golden idol more bull than calf (and many earrings' worth), these Israelite revellers give homage to the potency of Poussin's vision of antiquity. As on a sculpted relief or painted Greek vase, figures are shown in suspended animation, heightened gestures or movements isolated from those of their neighbours, so that the effect of the whole is at one and the same time violent and static.

Please click here for another rendition of the second Golden Calf painting. It is subscribed to Andrea di Lione

Later in life Poussin would complain of the pressure of commissions, "Monsieur, these are not things that can be done at the crack of a whip," he wrote to his friend and patron Chantelou in 1645, "like your Parisian painters who make a sport of turning out a picture in twenty-four hours." But in his Roman youth, he could and did turn them out, and it would be idle to pretend that all early Poussin is on the same level. Some paintings are much less "finished" than others; a few are hackwork (such as a Hannibal Crossing the Alps, done for del Pozzo, who had a thing about elephants); and one painting from San Francisco's de Young Museum, The Adoration of the Golden Calf, does not survive comparison; it is clearly not by Poussin at all, although it shows how fanatically others imitated him. But the unevenness is part of Poussin's development: an artist in the real world, discovering the true tone of his ideas. Young Poussin did not paint plaster gods, and he was not one himself.

The Crossing of the Red Sea (c.1634)
oil on canvas
155.6 x 215.3 cm
Felton Bequest, 1948

The exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery and their many years' wandering to the Promised Land under Moses' leadership was a synonym for the journey to freedom. It offered several scenes which were attractive for the visual arts. Two events from the cycle were most frequently depicted: the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (Second Book of Moses, 14:9-31) and Moses getting water from a rock in the desert (Second Book of Moses, 17:4-6). Both scenes had already appeared in old Christian monuments, e.g. 5th century mosaics in the S. Maria Maggiore church in Rome. Along with other scenes of the Jewish exodus they were also depicted in later periods. For example, the Venetian painter Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, (1518 - 1594) painted Moses refreshing exhausted and turbulent crowds of people with water from the rock in a dramatic composition which is part of the decoration of Scuola San Rocco in Venice. The French painter Nicolas Poussin turned to the Jewish exodus between 1633 and 1636, when he made two dynamic paintings of these scenes showing the excited movement and pathetic gestures of the pilgrims, pursuing freedom with confidence in Moses' strength. (Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria; Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland). Poussin's paintings, made in Rome, influenced younger generations of Italian artists. However, Old Testament themes also soon grew in importance in the areas north of the Alps, especially in the Netherlands. There, biblical stories found a special meaning in relation to contemporary events. The protracted war with Spain led to mass emigration, especially in Antwerp, and these or similar Old Testament stories provided support and hope for émigrés during a difficult time. They were also reflected in the choice of themes in contemporary painting. Protestant theologians of the time recommended, as Martin Luther had done, that scenes from the Old Testament be used to decorate homes instead of paintings with themes from antiquity.

Adoration of the Magi
1633
Oil on canvas, 160 x 182 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

This is a famous and much copied painting of Poussin. It is signed and dated on the tumbled down column lower right: Accad: rom. NICOLAVS PVSIN faciebat Romae. 1633. Poussin's growing preoccupation with the works of antiquity and of Raphael resulted in a new clarity of composition in such paintings as the Adoration of the Magi (1633; Dresden) and The Golden Calf (c.1635; National Gall., London). His figures began to exhibit greater linear precision and sculptural solidity. Poussin became especially concerned with the didactic and philosophical possibilities of painting. He formulated the doctrines that became the basis of French classical and academic art, whereby a work was intended to arouse rational and intellectual, rather than visual, response in the viewer. His approach to and successful justification of this intellectualization profoundly influenced painting far into the 19th cent.

Adoration of the Shepherds.
1633.
Oil on canvas.
National Gallery, London, UK
Signed: N. Pusin. fe[cit]. [Nicolas Poussin made this].

The shepherds come to adore the new-born Jesus in the stable. New Testament (Luke 2: 8-14). In the background the angel announces the birth of Christ to them.
Poussin uses a long-established motif, and places the Nativity in a stable built into the ruins of a classical building. This motif appears in the National Gallery's earliest Botticelli, 'Adoration of the Kings', and Poussin's contemporaries the Le Nain brothers used it in their 'Adoration of the Shepherds' of about 1640. The ruins represent the collapse of the Old Dispensation, the law of the Old Testament, superseded by the New Dispensation, the kingdom of Christ. The figure of the kneeling shepherd derives from that of one of the magi in 'The Adoration of the Magi' by the studio of Raphael (Rome, Vatican Loggie).

Each figure shows a different stage in the bending motion of the human body.







Adoration of the Shepherds.

The Gospel of Luke (2:8-20) tells that on the night Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, an angel announced the Good News to the shepherds: 'Now in this same district there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch through the night over their flock', they were terrified when they saw the angel of the Lord, but the angel said: 'Do not be afraid; I bring you good news, new of great joy for the whole nation. Today there has been born to you in the city of David a deliverer - the Messiah, the Lord.' (Luke 2:8-12). After the angel had left them, the shepherds hurried to greet and worship the Child.

The shepherds were in the fields, watching their flocks, at the time of Christ's birth, according to the Gospel of
Saint Luke. After the angel appeared to them (see Annunciation to the Shepherds), they left their sheep and went immediately to see the Christ Child; they told Mary what the angel had said, which 'Mary pondered in her heart' (Luke 2:19).

In paintings of the scene the shepherds are frequently shown arriving hastily, carrying one or more lambs as offerings to the Child, though there is no mention of this in the Bible. They are usually depicted as roughly dressed with unidealised features.
The Agony in the Garden
ca. 1626
oil on copper
23 3/4 x 18 1/2 in.
$6,712,500 at Sotheby's

Sotheby's three-session marathon on Jan. 27-28, 1999, was highlighted by a long-lost Poussin on copper of The Agony in the Garden. Probably painted for a member of the Barberini family in Rome, ca.1627-8. (est. $3 million-$4 million), and recently discovered by French dealer Charles Bailly in a provincial French auction, this work was offered by a "European Financial Institution." Though not one of Poussin's masterpieces by any stretch and in less than perfect condition, the Getty Museum hotly pursued it, only to lose out as underbidder to an anonymous collector for $6,712,500.

Nymphs and a Satyr (Amor vincit omnia)
(Love Conquers All)
Framed: 121.cm x 152.cm x 7.cm, Unframed: 97.cm x 127.5cm
1625

For another view of this painting click here please

Andrians or The Great Bacchanal with Woman Playing a Lute.
1628.
Oil on canvas.
Louvre, Paris, France

Dionysus (Roman name Bacchus), Greek Olympian god of vine, wine and mystic ecstasy. Orgies in favor of Bacchus are bacchanals. According to classical mythology, the god’s favorite island was Andros, where rivers ran with wine instead of water. The Greek city of Amphissa, or Salona, was also a center for the cult of Dionysus.

According to Webster's, 

bac.cha.na.lia n, pl bacchanalia [L, fr. Bacchus] (1591) 1 pl, cap: a Roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry 2: orgy 2, 3 -- bac.cha.na.lian adj or n

Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan
1631-1633.
Oil on canvas.
100 x 142,5 cm.
National Gallery, London, UK

This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective and the pastoral or arcadian landscape.  The composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings and Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures. Iconography: This is the kind of image that seems to Poussin might have seen in Italy either on a classical frieze or a pot.  Even though the image is "classical" it me to be an almost sarcastic or moralizing way in which to depict it.  This painting seems almost to be a warning against hedonism

The theme this story that this painting portrays is a bacchanal.

Arcadian revellers drink and dance before a term - a pillar crowned with a torso and head - of an ancient god, here either Pan or Priapus, both associated with fertility, rustic dance and drunkenness.

In spite of the frantic activity of the dancing figures, some derived from
Renaissance precedents, they have been carefully posed to form a structured, flowing design. In the slightly later 'Adoration of the Golden Calf', also in the Gallery, the group of dancers appears again, reversed.

The figures in this painting have more solidity than in some of Poussin's earlier pictures of Bacchic subjects, like
'Sleeping Nymph surprised by Satyrs' painted some six years previously, and also in the Collection. The treatment of the landscape here was inspired by Poussin's knowledge of 16th-century Venetian paintings in Roman collections.

Apollo and Daphne

1625
Oil on canvas, 97 x 131 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich




Apollo and Daphne.
1664.
Oil on canvas.
Louvre, Paris, France

This was the last painting Poussin ever did. He did not finish it and turned it over to it's patron incomplete.
Daphne was Apollo's first love. It was not brought about by accident, but by the malice of Cupid (Eros). Apollo saw the boy playing with his bow and arrows; and being himself elated with his recent victory over Python, he said to him, "What have you to do with warlike weapons, saucy boy? Leave them for hands worthy of them, Behold the conquest I have won by means of them over the vast serpent who stretched his poisonous body over acres of the plain! Be content with your torch, child, and kindle up your flames, as you call them, where you will, but presume not to meddle with my weapons." Venus's boy heard these words, and rejoined, "Your arrows may strike all things else, Apollo, but mine shall strike you." So saying, he took his stand on a rock of Parnassus, and drew from his quiver two arrows of different workmanship, one to excite love, the other to repel it. The former was of gold and ship pointed, the latter blunt and tipped with lead. With the leaden shaft he struck the nymph Daphne, the daughter of the river god Peneus [river in Thessaly], and with the golden one Apollo, through the heart. Forthwith the god was seized with love for the maiden, and she abhorred the thought of loving. Her delight was in woodland sports and in the spoils of the chase. lovers sought her, but she spurned them all, ranging the woods, and taking no thought of Cupid nor of Hymen. Her father often said to her, "Daughter, you owe me a son-in-law; you owe me grandchildren." She, hating the thought of marriage as a crime, with her beautiful face tinged all over with blushes, threw her arms around her father's neck, and said, "Dearest father, grant me this favour, that I may always remain unmarried, like Diana (Artemis)." He consented, but at the same time said, "Your own face will forbid it."

Apollo loved her, and longed to obtain her; and he who gives oracles to all the world was not wise enough to look into his own fortunes. He saw her hair flung loose over her shoulders, and said, "If so charming, in disorder, what would it be if arranged?" He saw her eyes bright as stars; he saw her lips, and was not satisfied with only seeing them. He admired her hands and arms, naked to the shoulder, and whatever was hidden from view he imagined more beautiful still. He followed her; she fled, swifter than the wind, and delayed not a moment at his entreaties. "Stay," said he, "daughter of Peneus; I am not a foe. Do not fly me as a lamb flies the wolf, or a dove the hawk. It is for love I pursue you. You make me miserable, for fear you should fall and hurt yourself on these stones, and I should be the cause. Pray run slower, and I will follow slower. I am no clown, no rude peasant. Jupiter (
Zeus) is my father, and I am lord of Delphos and Tenedos, and know all things, present and future. I am the god of song and the lyre . My arrows fly true to the mark; but, alas! an arrow more fatal than mine has pierced my heart! I am the god of medicine, and know the virtues of all healing plants. Alas! I suffer a malady that no balm can cure!"
[see source: Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book I, Daphne, lines 577 - 687]

The nymph continued her flight, and left his plea half uttered. And even as she fled she charmed him. The wind blew her garments, and her unbound hair streamed loose behind her. The god grew impatient to find his wooings thrown away, and, sped by Cupid, gained upon her in the race. It was like a hound pursuing a hare, with open jaws ready to seize, while the feebler animal darts forward, slipping from the very grasp. So flew the god and the virgin- he on the wings of love, and she on those of fear. The pursuer is the more rapid, however, and gains upon her, and his panting breath blows upon her hair. Her strength begins to fail, and, ready to sink, she calls upon her father, the river god: "Help me, Peneus! open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!" Scarcely had she spoken, when a stiffness seized all her limbs; her bosom began to be enclosed in a tender bark; her hair became leaves; her arms became branches; her foot stuck fast in the ground, as a root; her face became a tree-top, retaining nothing of its former self but its beauty,
Apollo stood amazed. He touched the stem, and felt the flesh tremble under the new bark. He embraced the branches, and lavished kisses on the wood. The branches shrank from his lips. "Since you cannot be my wife," said he, "you shall assuredly be my tree. I will wear you for my crown; I will decorate with you my harp and my quiver; and when the great Roman conquerors lead up the triumphal pomp to the Capitol, you shall be woven into wreaths for their brows. And, as eternal youth is mine, you also shall be always green, and your leaf know no decay." The nymph, now changed into a Laurel tree, bowed its head in grateful acknowledgment.
[see source: Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book I, Daphne, lines 688 - 748]
[see image 44K:
Apollo and Daphne (1625) - sculpture by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)]

That
Apollo should be the god both of music and poetry will not appear strange, but that medicine should also be assigned to his province, may.
Apollo and Muses
1631-1632.
Oil on canvas.
76x102cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The painting depicts the Assembly of the Muses ( Parnassus) gathered around Apollo, god of light, beauty and arts. In ancient mythology, this assembly met on the mount Parnassus, dedicated to the fine arts. Poussin painted that mythological scene in accordance with the tradition of the Antiquity, as perfected during the Italian Renaissance. One of the main example of this style remains the work by the artist Raphaël in one of the Vatican's chambers.

Painted in 1646 (?), Parnassus magically portrays the Mount in Southern Greece, north of the Gulf of Corinth, sacred to Apollo and the Muses, and a center of musical and poetic inspiration. What better place for Poussin and Monteverdi to conjoin, amid the sonic elements of the 21st century? The melodic and rhythmic fragments of "Ohime, dov'e il mio ben" blend with my own language, and with fragments from the earlier panels, to complete this imagined triptych . . . resolved as a single pitch floating high in the firmament, and across nearly five hundred years.

Parnassos (Greek), Parnassus (Latin).

A mountain near Delphi, in Greece. It has two summits, one of which was consecrated to Apollo and the Muses, the other to Bacchus. It was anciently called Larnassos, from larnax, an ark, because Deucalion’s ark stranded there after the flood. After the oracle of Delphi was built at its foot it received the name of Parnassos, which Peucerus says is a corruption of Har Nahas (hill of divination). The Turks call it Liakura

Parnassus. The region of poetry. Properly a mountain of Phocis, in Greece, sacred to Apollo and the Muses. “Where lies your vein? Are you inclined to soar to the higher regions of Parnassus or to flutter round the base of the hill?” (The Antiquary)—i.e. Are you going to attempt the higher walks of poetry, such as epic and dramatic, or some more modest kind, as simple song?
Spring, or Adam and Eve in the Earthly Paradise

The Seasons, the four canvasses of Poussin's late period now in the Louvre, are an even more extreme personal statement than the Landscape with Diana and Orion. All Poussin's severity and pessimism seem to have disappeared in these paintings, to be replaced by a fusion of all the poetical leanings in his nature. They are the supreme expression, not in this case of mind over eye, but of praise for the beauty and grandeur of nature, now ordered by man, and now defeating man. Spring is luxuriant, Summer a fecund harvest, Autumn the gathering of mellow grapes and Winter the terrible deluge in which all mankind is overwhelmed and destroyed.

These pictures exist on a complex series of levels, and even the most unscholarly spectator must be aware that Poussin was trying to balance moods and ideas in a much more subtle and intricate way than usual. Firstly, the pictures are a sequence, and they are hung in this way in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre. Spring is cool in tone, Summer and Autumn are warm, and Winter is cold. Even this obvious modulation of tones has its own rhythm. In all but Winter man is seen in harmony with nature, especially in Spring, surely one of the most perfect evocations of Paradise since the subject was attempted by fifteenth-century Netherlandish painters.

Summer, or Ruth and Boas

The Seasons, the four canvasses of Poussin's late period now in the Louvre, are an even more extreme personal statement than the Landscape with Diana and Orion. They are the supreme expression, not in this case of mind over eye, but of praise for the beauty and grandeur of nature, now ordered by man, and now defeating man. Spring is luxuriant, Summer a fecund harvest, Autumn the gathering of mellow grapes and Winter the terrible deluge in which all mankind is overwhelmed and destroyed.

The biblical story depicted in Summer is the following.

Ruth was a Moabite woman and great-grandmother of David, and therefore an ancestress of Christ, hence her place in Christina art. She was married to a Hebrew immigrant in Moab and after his death left her native land and went with her mother-in-law Naomi, to Bethlehem. Here she was allowed to glean the corn in the fields belonging to Boaz, a rich farmer and kinsman of Naomi. Ruth, true to her nature, maintained, on Naomi's advice, a modest demeanour among the young men working at the harvest. One night she went and lay at the feet of Boaz as he slept in the field. By this act Boaz saw her virtue and later decided to assume responsibilities towards her of a kinsman. In due course he married her.

Autumn. The Grapes from the Promised Land
1660-64
Oil on canvas,
118 x 160 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This painting is part of a series of four, entitled the Seasons. The pictures are a sequence, and they are hung in this way in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre.
Winter. The Deluge.
1660-1664.
Oil on canvas.
118 x 160 cm
Louvre, Paris, Fran

The Seasons, the four canvasses of Poussin's late period now in the Louvre, are an even more extreme personal statement than the Landscape with Diana and Orion. All Poussin's severity and pessimism seem to have disappeared in these paintings, to be replaced by a fusion of all the poetical leanings in his nature. They are the supreme expression, not in this case of mind over eye, but of praise for the beauty and grandeur of nature, now ordered by man, and now defeating man. Spring is luxuriant, Summer a fecund harvest, Autumn the gathering of mellow grapes and Winter the terrible deluge in which all mankind is overwhelmed and destroyed.

These pictures exist on a complex series of levels, and even the most unscholarly spectator must be aware that Poussin was trying to balance moods and ideas in a much more subtle and intricate way than usual. Firstly, the pictures are a sequence, and they are hung in this way in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre. Spring is cool in tone, Summer and Autumn are warm, and Winter is cold. Even this obvious modulation of tones has its own rhythm. In all but Winter man is seen in harmony with nature, especially in Spring, surely one of the most perfect evocations of Paradise since the subject was attempted by fifteenth-century Netherlandish painters.
Baby Moses Saved from River.
1651.
Oil on canvas.
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, UK.NG6519.   

Bought in 1988 jointly by the National Gallery and the National Museum of Wales with contributions from: J Paul Getty Jnr (through the American Friends of the National Gallery), the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, Mrs Schreiber, the Esmee Fairbairn Trust, the Moorgate Trusts, Sir Denis Mahon and anonymous donors.

To escape Pharaoh's order to kill Israelite boys
Moses was placed in an ark of bullrushes upon the Nile. Here he is discovered by Pharaoh's daughter (in yellow), who is attended by her maidens and by the baby's sister Miriam (in white), who cradles the child. Old Testament (Exodus 2: 3-9).

Painted in 1651 for Monsieur Reynon, a silk merchant in Lyon, this is the latest and grandest of Poussin's three versions of the subject. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris. It may have been the pair to Poussin's 'Christ healing the Blind' (Paris, Louvre). The Gallery's picture once belonged to the Marquis de Seignelay, whose widow is portrayed in Mignard's portrait in the National Gallery (
'The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons'), and later to Clive of India.
Baby Moses Saved from the River.
1654.
Oil on canvas.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK.




The Exposition of Moses
Oil on canvas.
Dresden, Staatliche Gemaldegalerie.
Pharaoh's Daughter Finds Baby Moses.
1638.
Oil on canvas.
Louvre, Paris, France.
Moses Saved From The Water
Bacchanal with Putti I
1601 1650,
Bild, Rom, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica,
Palazzo Barberini

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Bacchanal with Putti II
1601 1650,
Bild, Rom, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica,
Palazzo Barberini
Spielende Amoretten
Bild Pommersfelden
Schlos Weissenstein 427
Baby Moses Trampling on the Pharaoh's Crown.
1645.
Oil on canvas.
Duke of Bedford collection, Woburn.
Brace Saves Water by Thomas

This is the only copy of this painting I have been able to find. Not sure if Poussin painted it originally or not.

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)

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