The Death of Germanicus Nicolas Poussin Buy Art Prints Now
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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
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The Death of Germanicus was painted in the year 1627 by Nicolas Poussin. The artist used oil on canvas material to accomplish the piece of art. He brought out the themes of sorrow, anguish, loyalty among more in his painting.

The contents of the death of Germanicus brought out the ideas for itself. A man on his deathbed-Germanicus, he was surrounded by people mourning for him as he struggled to let out his last words. His father, his adoptive father, had poisoned Germanicus. On his deathbed, Germanicus told the people around him to avenge his death. His wife was right beside him, Germanicus told her to take care of their six children and to avenge his grave for him.

The painting by Nicolas Poussin paved the way for many such pictures with a person on their deathbed and others surrounding them as they pronounce their last words. This form of painting stayed around for close to two centuries — Nicolas Poussin inspired by the art of the ancient Roman Sarcophagus. A Roman Sarcophagus coffin was made for the elite in the society made of stone or limestone. What made the Sarcophagus unique was that it has images on the well-curved side. The photos depicted the life of the deceased in the past. The present- that is up until their death. Lastly, the future, what they had in store if they did not pass on.

The ancient Roman Sarcophagus led to the inspiration to the masterpiece that is the death of Germanicus. The images on the coffin of people mourning the end of the person in the casket were what brought the painting of Germanicus on his deathbed with people surrounding him while giving out his last words. The portrait by Nicolas was very popular in Italy and brought out the popular Venetian way of painting. The Venetian style is on a brown frame. A red canvas was brown and very durable hence the popularity around Italy. Nicolas lived in Rome. At the time of the painting, and therefore he incorporated styles from both France and Italy. His living there made the work famous all over the world.

Nicolas Poussin made the painting for Cardinal Francesco Barberini. When the Cardinal got the art, it elevated the popularity of the painter - Nicolas Poussin. The Romans were very strict when it came to the Catholic faith that when the Cardinal got the painting, Nicolas immediately became famous. His work accepted throughout Rome and the larger Italy. The death of Germanicus stayed in the family of the Cardinal for several decades until an art collector finally bought it in 1958.