Baroque and Rococo


Baroque and Rococo Art Map

Nicolas Poussin


Nicolas Poussin

(b Les Andelys, Normandy, June 1594; d Rome, 19 Nov 1665).

French painter and draughtsman, active in Italy. His supreme achievement as a painter lies in his unrivalled but hard-won capacity to subordinate dramatic narrative and the expression of extreme states of human passions to the formal harmony of designs based on the beauty and precision of abstract forms. The development of his art towards this end was focused on the search for a point of equilibrium and synthesis between the forces of the Classical and the Baroque around which most critical debate in Rome was concentrated during the 1630s. Poussin did not aspire to the classicism of Raphael’s idealized human forms or Michelangelo’s re-embodiment of the physical splendours of the antique world, nor did he attempt to vie with the bravura and energy of Annibale Carracci’s treatment of Classical mythology in the Galleria of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Equally he was not concerned with the illusionistic effects and heightened emotionalism of Baroque artists such as Pietro da Cortona and Lanfranco. He was concerned above all with interpreting his subject-matter, whether Classical or religious, and telling a story with the greatest possible concentration of emotional response, transcending any single moment in a narrative sequence but communicating and crystallizing every underlying passion into a comprehensive image. 


The Martyrdom of St Erasmus

Oil on canvas, 320 x 186 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican



Bacchic Scene

c. 1627
Oil on canvas, 96 x 75 cm
Staatliche Museen, Kassel


Apollo and Daphne

Oil on canvas, 97 x 131 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich


Bacchanal of Putti

Oil on canvas, 74 x 84 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome


Rinaldo and Armida

c. 1625
Oil on canvas, 80 x 107 cm
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London


The Victorious David

c. 1627
Oil on canvas, 100 x 130 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid


The Death of Germanicus

Oil on canvas, 148 x 198 cm
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis


Acis and Galatea

c. 1630
Oil on canvas, 97 x 135 cm
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin


Bacchanal: the Andrians

Oil on canvas, 121 x 175 cm
Musee du Louvre, Paris


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