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|Author: Nicolas Poussin|
|Battle Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 97.5x134 cm|
|Origin: France, Circa 1624/1625|
The Battle of the Israelites and Amalekites and its companion piece The Battle of the Israelites and Amorites are the first works that Poussin produced in Italy. The subject, very rarely found in painting, is evidence of the artist's awakened interest in the story of Moses, upon which he would draw repeatedly in the future. On the canvas in the Hermitage collection the artist depicted the clash between the Israelites and the warlike Amalekites in the wilderness of Rephidim. Moses commanded Joshua to fight and he himself went up to the top of a hill and prayed for victory. ?And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses? hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaaron and Hur stayed up his hands?? . This decided the outcome of the battle in favour of the Israelites.
In both paintings one can sense the influence of the Raphael Loggias frescoes in the Vatican, which Poussin may have known, even before he left France, from prints and engravings. The composition is based on drawings that Poussin made of reliefs on Roman sarcophagi. The artist grasped the opportunity to show on the canvas the tempestuous movement of the warriors clashing in a bitter, prolonged struggle. He has conveyed the element of battle with its dynamism.
|Source of entry: Provenance: between 1763 and 1774|
|Theme: The Bible and Christianity|
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