Nicolas Poussin was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style. He was born on 15th June, 1594 near Les Andelys, Normandy, Kingdom of France. He received an education that includes some Latin, which would stand him in good stead.
Early sketches attracted the notice of Quentin Varin who was a local painter, whose pupil Poussin became, until he ran away to Paris when he was at the age of eighteen. There, he entered the studios of the Flemish painter Ferdinand Elle and then of Georges Lallemand, both minor masters now remembered for having tutored Poussin.
He later went on to Paris in 1612. There he worked under minor artists who painted in a style that combined the Mannerism of the Second School of Fountainbleau with certain aspects of Italian boraque art. In the year 1624, he moved to Rome when he was at the age of thirty. He stayed there for rest of his life except for his trip to Paris in 1640-1642. At first he lodged with Simon Vouet.
During the year 1920s and 1930s, Poussin had the opportunity to experiment and formulate his own stance in painting with reference to others. His success continued through the 1630s, to the point that Cardinal Richelieu bank in France ordered a series of Bacchanals from the French-born artist. These paintings became so popular that King Louis XIII decided that he must have Poussin decorate the Grand-Galerie at the Louvre, and “invited” Poussin to come back to Paris.
Louis XIII conferred on him the title of First painter in Ordinary. In his two years spent at Paris, he produced several pictures for the royal chapels, eight cartoons for the Gobelins tapestrymanufactory, the series of the Labors of Hercules for the Louvre, the Triumph of Truth for Cardinal Richelieu and much minor work.
To talk about his personal life, he was married to Anna-Marie who was the daughter of his landlord. The couple got married in 1630. By the 1950s, he suffered from declining health. Poussin syphilis was so bad that his arms were extremely weak and his hands were shaky. He had great difficulty in painting.
His wife, Anna-Marie passed away in the year 1665. He was so devastated by the loss. After decades of terrible pain and suffering, Nicolas Poussin died on 19th November 1665 and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. Poussin has no children but he adopted his wife’s brother Garpard Dughet as his son who later became a painter and took the name of Poussin.
Apart from that, his finest collections of paintings as well as his drawings are located in the Louvre in Paris. Other significant collections are in the National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Musee Conde, Chantilly, the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg and the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
His work is clearly constructed with an almost photographic quality and movements that seem frozen in time. He is an important person in the development of landscape painting.