Nicolas Poussin

1594 - 1665
Poussin, Nicolas
Nicolas Poussin, 'Self Portrait'
Paris, Musée du Louvre
© RMN, Paris

Nicolas Poussin was born at Les Andelys in Normandy and first trained in Rouen. From 1612 he lived in Paris and in 1624 travelled via Venice to Rome, where he stayed for most of his life.


His sensuous early canvases such as 'The Nurture of Bacchus', reflect 16th-century Venetian art, especially that of Titian. He studied antique remains and his art reflects both this and an appreciation of Raphael. Poussin read ancient writers such as Ovid and attempted to recreate ancient myth and history in his works.

Poussin mainly painted easel paintings for private patrons. His larger works for Louis XIII, made from 1640 to 1642 on his return to Paris, were less successful. His scholarly patrons in Rome and Paris included Cassiano dal Pozzo and the notable art collector, Cardinal Richelieu.

Poussin sketched in the Campagna, the countryside around Rome, with Claude, and from the late 1630s began to paint landscapes. He brought a powerful discipline to the composition of his paintings, which enhanced the solemnity of their subjects. In his later years he developed an intensely personal style in his religious and allegorical works.

Related paintings

Cephalus and Aurora
Nicolas Poussin
about 1630
Cephalus and Aurora
Landscape with Travellers Resting
Nicolas Poussin
about 1638-9
Landscape with Travellers Resting
Landscape with a Man killed by a Snake
Nicolas Poussin
probably 1648
Landscape with a Man killed by a Snake
Nymph with Satyrs
Nicolas Poussin
about 1627
Nymph with Satyrs
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Nicolas Poussin
about 1633-4
The Adoration of the Shepherds
The Annunciation
Nicolas Poussin
1657
The Annunciation
The Finding of Moses
Nicolas Poussin
1651
The Finding of Moses
The Nurture of Bacchus
Nicolas Poussin
about 1628
The Nurture of Bacchus
The Triumph of Pan
Nicolas Poussin
1636
The Triumph of Pan
The Triumph of Silenus
After Nicolas Poussin
probably about 1637
The Triumph of Silenus
The Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John
After Nicolas Poussin (?)
18th century
The Holy Family with Saints Elizabeth and John
 
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