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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Nicolas Poussin was a famous 17th century French painter who was significant within the Classicist and Barqoue art movements.

Poussin was born in Normandy in Northern France and set about creating an impressive array of paintings across a long and distinguished career which remains well respected today. Nicolas Poussin was a French-born artist who actually spent most of his career in Italy where he revelled in the advancements that this region had made and only returned to France when under orders to serve as the First Painter to the King which reflects the reputation which he had achieved by this stage in his career.

Nicolas Poussin left an incredible legacy which inspired many later French painters who took great interest in his techniques and saw him as a key influnce on the development of French art during that period and indeed on many art movements which followed on afterwards. Some notable painters who are believed to have been influenced by his career included Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cezanne.

European art was dominating during the periods from post-Middle Ages up to the 20th century and France and Italy together probably lead the way for much of it, though there were certainly important contributions from others countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the UK. Poussin offered an impressive combination of French roots with experience of working in Italy for many years and this helped him to establish a highly impressive style which stood out from most other artists of that time. Poussin paintings included Rape of the Sabine Women, Eucharist, Helios and Phaeton with Saturn and the Four Seasons, Et in Arcadia ego (Les Bergers d'Arcadie), The Four Seasons: Summer, or Ruth and Boaz, Adoration of the Sheperds and many more. Poussin's career paintings are spread evenly between his native France, Italy where he spent most of his career, and also several national galleries within England's capital, London, which itself hosts an impressive collection of French art from previous centuries.

French art was arguably the leader of European art throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, or at least a major contributor and is a large achievement from Poussin just to be respected alongside so many impressive artists from a wide range of styles. French art followed in the footsteps of Italian art for several centuries as it took in the impact of the Renaissance art movements before beginning to take the initiative itself, aided by influential painters like Poussin. Nicolas Poussin is certainly a significant artist within the development of French art since the early 17th century but there are also many other exceptional painters to have come from France who are also well worthy of study and their work is now freely available within major art galleries and museums across Europe, with a particular frequency within domestic French locations as well as some in London, UK too.

List of Famous Nicolas Poussin Paintings

Please see below for a summarised list of the best Poussin paintings that are featured throughout this website.

  • The Plague at Ashdod
  • Les Bergers d’Arcadie
  • The Judgment of Solomon
  • The Blind Men of Jericho
  • The Adulteress
  • The Four Seasons
  • Adoration of the Golden Calf
  • Holy Family on the Steps
  • Cacus
  • The Testament of Eudamidas
  • Hymenaios Disguised as a Woman During an Offering to Priapus
  • Tancred and Erminia, second version
  • The Rape of the Sabine Women
  • The Destruction of Jerusalem
  • Hebrews Gathering Manna
  • A Dance to the Music of Time
  • Moses Rescued from the Waters
  • Eliezer and Rebecca
  • The Funeral of Phocion
  • Landscape with Polyphemus
  • Seven Sacrament