Nicolas Poussin

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Nicolas Poussin -The Classical French Baroque Artist


Nicolas Poussin was one of the leading artists of the 16th century, famous for the Classical French Baroque style known as the founder of French Classical Tradition. Most of his artwork subjects were in mythological and religious form. He served as the First Painter to the King under Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. Later on, he soon returned to Rome and spent his art life in traditional themes.

Early Life

Nicolas was born on 15 June 1594 in Les Andelys of Normandy. He belonged to a noble family and took his schooling in various subjects, including Latin. Gradually he discovered a talent for drawing and painting. His parents were against the art culture, which led young Poussin to run away to Paris in the early 16th century, just at the age of 18. Being in Paris, Poussin studied many subjects of his choice, such as anatomy and visual perspectives. Later, Poussin was introduced to the unique Italian Renaissance art style that determined his artistic destiny. Poussin's career started to pick up by the early 1620s when he received his first commission for the Jesuits.

Important Artworks

During the progression of the art of his artistic life, he painted many famous artworks. Dance to the Music of Time was Poussin's most important patron, commissioned by Pope Clement IX. Giulio Rospigliosi- the famous painting reflected the patron's great interest in dance and music. In 1637 Poussin painted the most controversial painting of his career, The Abduction of the Sabine Women; this story was very famous during the Renaissance. The following year, Poussin painted the Et in Arcadla Ego, which Rospigliosi also commissioned; this artwork was also known as The Arcadian Shepherds. Poussin's next popular artwork was The Judgement of Solomon, which was on Solomon's famous King of Israel, renowned for his wisdom. In the year 1650, Poussin was approached by patron Paul Freat de Chantelou to make a Self Portrait for the foundation of the French Academy. Poussin painted another impressive artwork Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun, in the year 1658. 

Final Days

 In his last days, being severely ill, he painted three to four pictures. Poussin's work was marked as the major turning point in the history of art. At his death, Poussin was venerated among French painters for reviving the tradition and the great masters of the Renaissance. Poussin died on 19 November 1665; the last painting he was working on was Apollo in Love with Daphne.