Nicolas Poussin

Holy Family with St Elizabeth and John the Baptist

Holy Family with St Elizabeth and John the Baptist
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Nicolas Poussin
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 172x133.5 сm
Origin: France, Between 1644 and 1655

Poussin received the order for this painting from Pierre Fréart de Chantelou, a celebrated court official of Louis XIII, for whose personal collection the artist executed a series of works.

The scene deals mainly with the encounter between the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth and their young children. When compared with the canvas entitled The Holy Family with St John the Baptist in the John and Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota, which was done slightly earlier, this painting amazes us with its greater harmony and grandeur. Here large and heavy figures fill nearly the entire surface of the canvas and leave almost no room to open space and background.

Researchers consider this work to be characteristic of the late style of Poussin which arose in the mid-1650s when the artist began to distance himself from the influence of Raphael and sought more monumental means of expression.

Personage: Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St Joseph
Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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