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Nicolas Poussin - French Artist From Art History

Art History - Historical Artists > P > Nicolas Poussin

Nicolas Poussin french artist
The Death of Germanicus
1627, Oil on canvas

Nicolas Poussin french artist
The Rape of the Sabines,

Nicolas Poussin french artist
The Baptism of Christ.
1645. Oil on canvas

Historical Artist - Nicolas Poussin (1594 - 1665)

Nicolas Poussin, a French painter in the Classical style, settled and studied in Paris in 1612. After a year-long tour of Italy, Poussin settled in Rome in 1624, producing work for Cardinal Barberini. Although Baroque was gaining popularity, Nicolas Poussin stuck to Classicism and used Greek and Roman mythology as his primary subjects. Later in life, Nicolas Poussin abandoned his large, crowded scenes for landscapes. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. Until the 20th century Nicolas Poussin remained the dominant inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Cézanne. Nicolas Poussin spent most of his working life in Rome except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France as First Painter to the King.

The finest collection of Nicolas Poussin's paintings, in addition to his drawings, is located in the Louvre; in Paris, besides the pictures in the National Gallery and at Dulwich, England possesses several of his most considerable works: The Triumph of Pan is at Basildon House, near to Pangbourne, and his great allegorical painting of the Arts at Knowsley. At Rome, in the Colonna and Valentini Palaces, are notable works by Nicolas Poussin, and one of the private apartments of Prince Doria is decorated by a great series of landscapes in distemper.

Quotes on Art by Nicolas Poussin

" Painting is nothing but an imitation of human actions, which alone are, properly speaking, imitable. Other actions are imitable not per se, but accidentally, and not as principal but as accessory parts. With this qualification one may also imitate not only the actions of beasts, but anything natural."

" Art is not a different thing from nature, nor can it pass beyond nature's boundaries. For that light of knowledge which by natural gift is scattered here and there and appears in different men in different times and places is collected into one body by art. This light is never to be found in its entirety or even in a large part in a single man."

" The idea of beauty does not descend into matter unless this is prepared as carefully as possible. This preparation consists of three things: arrangement, measure, and aspect or form."

" A painting will be elegant when the extreme distances are connected to the foregrounds by means of the middle distances in such a way that they will contrast neither too feebly nor with too much harshness of lines and colours. Here one may speak of the friendships and emnities of colours and their rules."

"... if in a painting there is no action its lines and colours are ineffective."

" Novelty in painting consists mainly not in a subject never treated before, but in good and new groupings and expressions. By these means a subject that is common and old can become singular and new."

" The form of each thing is distinguished by the thing's function and purpose. Some things produce laughter, others terror; these are their forms."

" Colours in painting are as allurements for persuading the eyes, as the sweetness of meter is in poetry."

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