Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)

Nicolas Poussin, a French painter, founded and worked exclusively in the 17th-century French classically style of painting. His paintings symbolized virtues such as logic, order, and clarity, and have influenced French art even today.Poussin was born into a peasant family, but was able to study art in Paris and Rome. His paintings completed during his life in Rome exhibit the Mannerist s influence, with crowded compositions and animated subjects popular in the 16th-century school. When the exuberant, Baroque tendencies became popular around 1630, Poussin inclined toward antique, Biblical and mythological subjects, such as Adoration of the Shepherds Detail. His sober, cool tones combined with the sculptural figures conveyed deep emotion through the subject s body language and facial expressions.Poussin believed that art should appeal to the mind rather than to the eye and that it should be noble and austere, devoid of trivial detail or sensuous distraction. This became the basis of the 17th-century French academic style. Other classically oriented artists, such as Jacques-Louis David and Paul Czanne, had their styles influenced by Poussin as well.


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