15 June 1594
; Les Andelys, France *
19 November 1665
; Rome, Italy *
1624 - 1664
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
A French classical painter, Nicolas Poussin has been an inspiration for countless number of great artists since the 17th century. At the age of 18, Poussin ran away from his hometown in Normandy, France, to Paris and began studying in the studios of the Flemish painters Ferdinand Elle and George Lallemand, who later became famous as the teachers of the great Nicolas Poussin. At the age of 10, he traveled to Rome, where he received two major commissions, Death of Germanicus and the Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus, the latter of which was publicly debuted, although it marked the last time he was to receive a public commission from the church.
After his first public debut, Poussin fell seriously ill, and was taken to the house of his friend, Jacques Dughet, whose daughter nursed him back to health. The next year, Poussin and Dughet’s daughter, Anna Maria, were married. While in Rome, Poussin met with many other artists, and befriended those with classical leanings, like himself, eventually forming an informal academy of artists and patrons, all opposed to the overbearing Baroque style. After his last church commission, Poussin relied solely on the private patronage for his works, and so in 1640, returned to France an was hired as s court painter by Louix VIII, who gave him the title of First Painter in Ordinary. Although he completed many works during his stay in France, he grew disgusted with French social intrigue, and so he withdrew back to Rome, where he continued to complete a great number of varied works each year.
In his later life, Poussin suffered declining health and a tremor in his hand, which may have affected his painting ability. Upon his death, he left no heirs, except for his wife’s brother, whom he adopted as a son, and who took the Poussin name. After his death, King Louis XIV amasses a huge amount of his works, many of which now hang on the Louvre, which has an entire gallery dedicated to just Poussin’s works.