Nicolas Poussin

Landscape with Polyphemus

Landscape with Polyphemus
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Author: Nicolas Poussin
Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 155x199 cm
Origin: France, 1649

Set into a Classical landscape are figures taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses . The one-eyed Cyclope Polyphemus fell in love with the sea nymph Galatea, but she rejected him and Polyphemus withdrew to a high mountain to play out his sadness on his flute.

Poussin presents love and music as the source of harmony in nature and human relations. Love has tamed the ferocious Cyclope, who has ceased to turn rocks to dust, to tear down trees and trample the corn, to sink ships. Charmed by Polyphemus's music, the nymphs who have come to collect water from a spring in their amphorae have stopped in their tracks; satyrs have emerged from their hiding places; a ploughman has stopped work to listen. Order, calm and harmony reign over nature. The steep cliffs, the solid trunks and leafy crowns of the trees all create an impression of power and the majestic beauty of nature.

Personage: Polyphemus
Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Collection of the Marquis de Conflands, Paris, 1772
Theme: Classical Religion and Mythology
Exibition: French Art: 15th - 18th centuries

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