Nicolas Poussin The Arcadian Shepherds

4 April 2015
Analyzes baroque painting by 17th Cent. French artist. Looks at the theme, style, color, light and iconography.

This paper will provide a visual analysis of The Arcadian Shepherds, a painting by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665). The subject of this study is the first version of the work, painted by Poussin in the late 1620s. Although Poussin was primarily known for his use of the classical style, this early work shows the influences of both the baroque style and the Venetian school, which was led by Titian.

According to de la Croix and Tansey, Poussin was a key figure in establishing the classical style in French painting, a style noted for its rational order and stability.1 Wilkin claims that Poussin’s work represents the High Art of the classical style, in that it presents elevated and learned themes with great formal rigor and scrupulous evocation of the antique.2 In addition, Wilkin points out that Poussin’s..

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