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 Nicolas Poussin

Nicolas Poussin

Birth
Les Andelys, Departement de l'Eure, Haute-Normandie, France
Death 19 Nov 1665 (aged 71)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Memorial ID 20421346 · View Source
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Painter. He was the last important artist to create in the classic manner of the Renaissance. Poussin's paintings of mythological, historic and religious scenes are marked by a powerful sense of rational form and order. Color and dramatic effect are subordinated to form and every object in his pictures assumes a symbolic significance. His principles had a far-reaching influence on the course of art. Poussin was born in Les Andelys, Normandy, France. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer and at 18 he ran away to Paris, where he lived in poverty while studying art and philosophy. A desire to experience the works of the old Italian masters led him to Rome in 1624, where he would spend most of his life. His style developed slowly. After experimenting with Mannerism and the realism of Caravaggio, he found inspiration in antique sculpture and Raphael's clear compositions. "The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus" (1630), executed for St. Peter's, won him notoriety. In 1640 Poussin was summoned to France by Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu to serve as First Painter of the King, but he was unhappy with the atmosphere and intrigues of the Paris court and returned permanently to Rome in 1642. From then on he rejected all commissions and painted what he chose for private collectors. His notable canvases include "The Rape of the Sabine Women" (1636), the series "The Seven Sacraments" (1644 to 1648), "Moses Rescued from the Waters" (1647), "The Judgement of Solomon" (1649), and "The Adulteress" (1653). In later years he turned to landscapes and his last major work was the pastoral group "The Four Seasons" (1664 to 1665). He was buried beside his wife at the church (now basilica) of San Lorenzo in Lucina. Author and statesman Rene-Francois de Chateaubriand donated his present memorial there in 1820. For about a century Poussin's reputation was confined among Europe's ruling classes, who found the noble order of his work reassuring. This began to change with the French Revolution, when his paintings first became accessible to the general public. Their somber austerity was considered well suited for the times and held up as models of revolutionary art. The Neo-Classicism of Jacques-Louis David is unthinkable without Poussin's example, as is the entire French Academic School of the 1800s. And Paul Cezanne, the radical Post-Impressionist and godfather of Cubism, claimed he learned more about the depiction of three-dimensional space from Poussin than from any other artist. Poussin is honored with his own gallery at The Louvre.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 12 Jul 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20421346
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Nicolas Poussin (15 Jun 1594–19 Nov 1665), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20421346, citing Basilica di San Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .