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Artists Nicolas Poussin

Nicolas Poussin

French Painter

Nicolas Poussin Photo
Movement: The Baroque

Born: June 1594 - Les Andelys, Normandy

Died: 19 November 1665 - Rome, Papal States

"I fear the malignity of our times. Virtue, conscience and religion are banished among men. Nothing but vice, trickery and self-interest reign. All is lost. I have lost hope in the existence of Good. Everything is filled with evil."


A Frenchman who spent almost his entire working life in Rome, Nicolas Poussin is considered the founder of the French classical tradition. He specialized in scenes from the Bible, ancient history, and mythology and his canvases are revered for their narrative intensity and their rational and ordered approach to composition. Poussin is admired for his strong use of color and his inclination to prioritize the cerebral over the emotional. He was able to demonstrate that art could be an intellectual pursuit and through his layering of meaning he produced paintings of extraordinary dramatic depth and allegorical complexity. Towards the latter part of his career, Poussin's art submitted to a further transformation as he diversified to depict landscapes and a series of pantheistic allegories that were expressed through the harmonious forces of nature. Though his reputation was downgraded in the first half of the 18th century, Poussin enjoyed something of a rebirth in the second half of that century when the Neoclassicist Jacques-Louis David and his followers championed Poussin's style above all other Classicists. Poussin's reputation has remained buoyant ever since.

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