French Academy
Exam 2 will be posted on Saturday, April 7 and will be due Tuesday, April 10
Nicolas Poussin, Dance of the Music of Time, 1636.











Nicolas Poussin, The Arcadian Shepherds, c. 1638.


Et in Arcadia Ego" = even in Arcadia, I, Death, am also present
































Characteristics of Poussin's Style:
  • Severe, intellectual style
  • Figures frozen in action like statues
  • Events portrayed not as they really happened, but how they would have happened if nature was perfect
  • Art should appeal to the mind instead of senses
  • Form and composition over color and emotion
  • Highest aim of art = to represent noble human actions
Nicolas Poussin, Landscape with Saint John on Patmos, 1640.




















Historic Context

Louis XIV

18th century The Age of Enlightenment
1643 -1715
Reign of Louis XIV - "The Sun King"
1660 - 1774 Rococo
1715 - 1774
Reign of Louis XV
1760 - 1830
Industrial Revolution
1763 - 1781
American Revolution
1774 - 1792
Reign of Louis XVI
Loius XVI & Marie Antoinette tried for treason and beheaded
1789 - 1799
French Revolution
Late 18th to early 19th centuries Neoclassicism
1799 - 1814
Napoleon controls France
Hyacinthe Rigaud, Louis XIV, 1701.











1664 French Academy begins to hold annual Salons
To show at a salon, a young artist needed to be received by the Académie by first submitting an artwork to the jury; only Académie artists could be shown in the salons. Salons were started under Louis XIV and continued until 1704. After a hiatus, the salons started up again in 1725.

  • A salon, the Salon and salon style
  • A salon = a fashionable assemblage of notables held by custom at the home of a prominent person
  • The Salon = annual display of art established as a venue to show the works of Academy members
  • Salon style = method in which artworks are exhibited in a gallery that utilizes the maximum amount of space possible
Piero Antonio Martini, The Paris Salon of 1785.











Hierarchy of genres

Abduction of the Sabine Women

History painting = scenes with narrative content derived from mythology, Christian history, literature and historical events
Nicolas Poussin, The Abduction of the Sabine Women,
c. 1633 - 1634.











Abduction of the Sabine Women
"The painting depicts one of the mythical episodes surrounding the history of ancient Rome. The city has just been founded by Romulus, and the Romans wish to ensure the future prosperity of their young nation. As there is a lack of women to provide the necessary offspring, they plan a mass abduction. With this in mind, they invite the neighboring Sabines to a feast during which they seize the women and drive off the men. Three years later, the Sabines attack Rome in revenge. But the conflict is prevented thanks to the women, who stand between their brothers and their husbands (to whom they have become reconciled). Thus peace was achieved between the two peoples. Poussin has chosen to illustrate the scene of the abduction. Romulus stands on the left, dominating the proceedings, in a pose directly inspired by Imperial statues. In the central section, the painter emphasizes the panic and confrontation between the men and women. This all takes place against an architectural background in linear perspective, which gives the work its vanishing point." - The Louvre
Nicolas Poussin, The Abduction of the Sabine Women,
c. 1633 - 1634.