Nicolas Poussin, ‘[Rescue of the young Pyrrhus]’, Getty Research Institute

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About Nicolas Poussin

A founder of French Classicism, Nicolas Poussin drew his subjects from history, biblical stories, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Poussin moved to Rome early in his career where, inspired by Titian, he painted in a sensual and dramatic style rich in color. He received his only papal commission in 1628 and painted The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus for the Church of Saint Peter, one of his largest and most elaborate works. The painting was ill received, prompting Poussin to change the course of his career and focus on smaller, more subdued and poetic paintings for collectors. Poussin’s later style opposed the prevailing Baroque tastes of the period, instead adapting the conventions of classical art by paring down forms and emphasizing moral content. In Rome, Poussin associated with a lively group of intellectuals around Cassiano dal Pozzo, who became an important friend and patron.

French, 1594-1665, Les Andelys, France, based in Rome, Italy