An analysis of the classical art of nicolas poussin

All aesthetic experience, whether of art or nature, seems to be informed by and dependent upon an exercise of taste. We choose the object of aesthetic experience, and often do so carefully and deliberately.

An analysis of the classical art of nicolas poussin

He spent virtually all of his working life in Rome, where he specialized in history paintings—depicting scenes from the Bible, ancient history, and mythology—that are notable for their narrative clarity and dramatic force.


His earliest works are characterized by a sensuality and colouristic richness indebted to Venetian art, especially to Titianbut by Poussin had repudiated this overtly seductive style in favour of a more rational and disciplined manner that owed much to the Classicism of Raphael and antiquity.

The artist executed the majority of his canvases in this intensely idealized style. Though his reputation was eclipsed in the first half of the 18th century, it enjoyed a spectacular revival later that century in the Neoclassical art of Jacques-Louis David and his followers and has remained high ever since.

Beginnings Born in or near the town of Les Andelys in Normandy, Poussin received an education in Latin and letters, but early on he showed an inclination for drawing. About Poussin departed for Paris, where he studied anatomyperspectiveand architecture and worked with the minor masters Georges Lallemand and Ferdinand Elle.

During this period he was introduced to engravings after the masters of the Italian Renaissance ; this work inspired in him such enthusiasm that he made two attempts to visit Rome, both abortive, between and About Poussin executed six large tempera paintings for the Jesuits none of those surviveand in the following year he received a commission for a painting in a Notre-Dame chapel.

The Notre-Dame painting, The Death of the Virginwent missing following the French Revolution and was known until the 21st century only by a preparatory drawing. The painting was discovered in a small church in the town of Sterrebeek outside Brussels and restored. The works for the Jesuits brought him to the attention of the Italian poet Giambattista Marinowho commissioned a series of drawings based on Ovidian mythology and encouraged Poussin to visit Italy.

In the spring of Poussin arrived in Rome, An analysis of the classical art of nicolas poussin for a stay in Paris during —42—he was to remain for the rest of his life. His first years there were marked by hardship and misfortune.

Soon after his arrival, his early champion, Marino, moved from Rome to Napleswhere he died in DestitutePoussin executed a large number of biblical and mythological paintings in the hope of finding buyers. These works reveal the influence of the art of Venice —which he had visited en route to Rome—in their glowing colourism and loosely constructed compositions.

Glossary of Art Terms, J - P

Determining the exact chronology of his works during these years is highly problematic. However, an increasing level of skill in draftsmanship and use of colour in the large number of paintings datable to this period have led to a general consensus among scholars of the progression of his art between and Many of these works are poetic mythologies on themes of unrequited love, which are pervaded by an air of languor and melancholy.

In their emotional intensity these pictures reveal an ardent Romanticism in the young Poussin that he would soon suppress.

An analysis of the classical art of nicolas poussin

Poussin served his apprenticeship in Rome by making copies after antiquity and the masters of the Renaissance and by studying the works of the Classicizing artists of his own day, including the Bolognese painter Domenichino. The fruits of these studies are apparent in his first great masterpiece, The Death of Germanicuspainted for Cardinal Francesco Barberini.

About Poussin became acquainted with the scholar, antiquarian, and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo, who was destined to become his chief Italian patron and one of his closest friends.


One year later, Pozzo assisted him in securing the commission for The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus, an altarpiece for St. Deciding to concentrate instead on easel pictures of increasing subtlety and refinement, Poussin devoted much of his art of the late s to romantic mythologies inspired by Titian and his fellow Venetians.

Stricken with illness aboutPoussin was nursed back to health by the family of Jacques Dughet, whose daughter, Anne-Marie, he married the same year. Her brother, Gaspard Dugheteventually became one of the foremost landscape painters of 17th-century Rome and took the surname Poussin from his more-illustrious brother-in-law.

Luke in Rome, a mark of official recognition that provides evidence of his growing reputation. In the early s his art also underwent a fundamental change of direction.

Rejecting the seductive attractions of Venetian painting—with its lustrous colour and vibrant brushwork—he adopted instead a more severe and cerebral style that emphasized clearly delineated and modelled forms and cold, pure colours. His compositions also became more rigorously ordered, with the figures often arranged in a friezelike manner parallel to the picture plane, in the style of an ancient relief.

Conversion to Classicism

The order and complexity of this new style led Poussin increasingly to rely on making detailed preparatory drawings for his pictures.

The Adoration of the Magi of serves as a manifesto of his artistic conversion and is unashamedly modeled after an earlier work on this theme by the greatest Classical master of the Renaissance, Raphael.

Other prestigious commissions soon followed. Beginning in the late s, Poussin executed an important work for the king of Spain, Philip IVand for Pozzo the Seven Sacraments, a set of paintings representing rites of the early Christian church.

Named First Painter to the King upon his arrival in Paris, Poussin was entrusted with the decoration of the royal residences, executing designs for the Long Gallery of the Louvrepainting altarpieces for the king and members of his court, and even designing book illustrations.

Much of this work was carried out with a team of assistants—a method of working that Poussin found deeply inimical to his creative integrity and independence. The death of Richelieu in December of that year and of the king himself four months later absolved Poussin of ever returning to the French court, leaving the artist to spend the rest of his years in Rome.

Reflecting the general development of his style during this period, these works were nobler and more monumental in conception than his earlier set for Pozzo and were intended to be more archaeologically accurate.

In all of them, the scene is set in early Christian times, and Poussin sought to re-create the architecture, furniture, and costumes as they would have looked in the period. In Poussin outlined another theoretical principle that was to be crucially important for future generations of artists, particularly in the 19th century: Thus, severe themes should look grave and joyous ones uplifting.

The implication of that theory is that the basic elements of painting—line, form, and colour—can themselves be entrusted to appeal directly to the emotions.

Poussin certainly applied that principle throughout much of his career, typically employing discordant colour harmonies for tragic themes and seductive ones for tender and lyrical subjects.Poussin slowly began to win the respect of Rome's top patrons, and perhaps most importantly was introduced to the circle of Cassiano dal Pozzo who introduced Poussin to the antique art, philosophy, and literature which would profoundly affect the course of the French artist's painting.

Henri Matisse (31 December - 3 November ) was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter.

Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who . Interest in Greek art lagged behind the revival of classical scholarship during the Renaissance and revived in the academic circle round Nicholas Poussin in Rome in the s.

Though modest collections of vases recovered from ancient tombs in Italy were made in the 15th and 16th centuries these were regarded as is possible . Nicolas Poussin (French: [nikɔlɑ pusɛ̃]; June – 19 November ) was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome.

Most of his works were on religious and mythological subjects painted for a small group of Italian and French place: Les Andelys, France. Famous Paintings Analyzed: Interpretation and Meaning of Oils, Frescoes and Watercolours by Old Masters.

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Nicolas Poussin | French painter |