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Past exhibition

Poussin and the Dance

9 October 2021 – 3 January 2022

Admission charge

Ground Floor Galleries

Tambourines shake, wine spills, and half-naked figures whirl across the canvas in these paintings of revelry, dance and drama that are brought together in this first exhibition dedicated to Poussin and dance.

Poussin’s paintings of dance are unique. He brings to life the classical world of gods and mortals with wild and riotous movement but, the chaos on the canvas does not reflect the meticulous and inventive process that allowed him to capture bodies in motion.

In this exhibition, Poussin’s paintings and drawings of dance will be shown alongside the antique sculpture he studied, inviting you to trace the evolution of his ideas from marble to paper to paint.

Poussin’s working methods will be fully revealed with a reconstruction of his wax figurines, which the artist manipulated into different compositions, underscoring his role not only as painter of dance, but as choreographer in his own right.

Exhibition organised by the National Gallery, London and the Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Image above: Detail from Nicolas Poussin, 'A Dance to the Music of Time', about 1634. By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London (P108) © The Trustees of the Wallace Collection

Exhibition supported by

Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, GRoW @ Annenberg


Graham and Joanna Barker
Mr and Mrs Shigeru Myojin
Mr and Mrs Sherif Nadar
Marco Voena


With additional support from

Richard Mansell-Jones


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Find out more

Curator's introduction

Curator's introduction

Poussin and the Dance

Curator Francesca Whitlum-Cooper introduces the exhibition
Poussin's technique

Poussin's technique

Learn how Poussin danced his own dance between sculpture, wax, ink and oil paint, and see how he continues to inspire artists today
Get to know Poussin

Get to know Poussin

Serious, cold, academic. That's often how Poussin is perceived, but look closer and you'll see an artist whose works are joyous, mischievous, and surprisingly fun...
Dance to the Music of Our Time performance recordings

Dance to the Music of Our Time performance recordings

Watch the performances of 'Dance to the Music of Our Time', a live exhibition presented alongside 'Poussin and the Dance'
Dance to the Music of Our Time

Dance to the Music of Our Time

A conversation with our curator

Priyesh Mistry explains how four contemporary artists have followed in Poussin's footsteps to use dance and movement as a form of storytelling
'You feel Poussin's excitement the moment you enter'
★★★★★ The Guardian

'A rarity and a revelation'
The Financial Times

'Deeply decadent delights'
The Sunday Times

★★★★ The Independent | ★★★★ Evening Standard | ★★★★ The Observer


Joint Member

Unlimited exhibition entry for two named individuals living at the same address.

Save £10 when you purchase an annual recurring Membership by Direct Debit.