Nicholas Poussin (June 1594 – November 19, 1665)

They say east or west home is best. One can never really forget where they came from. For one artist by the name Nicholas Poussin, this saying was completely true. Nicholas Poussin was famously known for his classical French Baroque painting style. You see, Nicholas was originally born in France. He however spent most of his time in Rome during the period in which he was painting. Nicholas painted for famous collectors in Rome. He adopted a religious theme to his paintings that gave a historical feel to most of his work.


Nicholas Poussin was born in June 1594 in Les Andelys, Normandy, France. Not much is really known about his family.

He started sketching from an early age. His sketches caught the attention of one of the local painters known as Quentin Varin. Quentin took Nicholas as his student to learn and grow in skills. For his duration in France, Nicholas continued to become Quentin’s student. However, this was not long lived. Once Nicholas turned eighteen years old, he left his home town and went to Paris. In Paris, he worked in studios belonging to Ferdinand Elle who was a Flemish painter and Georges Lallemand.

In 1624, at the age of thirty, Nicholas went to Rome. On arrival, he stayed with Simon Vouet. A departure to Spain had left the two friends in a financial crisis. However, the return from Spain in 1626 stabilized the situation and gave Poussin a more stable position.

In the year 1630, Poussin married a lady by the name Anna Maria. Before this event, Poussin had fallen ill. He was taken in by Gasard Dughet. In his household, Poussin was able to receive treatment. He was nursed back to health by Anna. During this time, they developed feelings for each other which resulted into their marriage.

Nicholas returned back to Paris where Louis XIII titled him as the First Painter in Ordinary. His time in Paris was quite successful as a painter. He produced quite a number of painting for the royal chapels, eight cartoons for the Gobelins tapestry manufactory, the series of the Labors of Hercules for the Louvre, the Triumph of Truth for Cardinal Richelieu (Louvre), and much minor work. All these pictures were exquisite. Their appearance was magical making Nicholas the talk of the town amongst his peers and like minded artists.

In 1643, Nicholas Poussin returned back to Rome. In 1648, the completed his second painting of the Seven Sacraments for the de Chantelou, and also his noble Landscape with Diogenes. In 1649 he painted the Vision of St. Paul for Paul Scarron. In 1651 he did a painting for the Holy Family for duc de Crequy. It was a chain of great painting during this time, with Nicholas unveiling one after the other.

He suffered from declining health after 1650, and was troubled by a worsening tremor in his hand, evidence of which is apparent in his late drawings. This illness made painting quite challenging for him. Although there were no painting hence forth, the once he had already painted were a constant reminder of his amazing talent and skill. 

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