French painter Nicolas Poussin was born on June 15, 1594 in Normandy, making him 425 years old later this week. He is identified with the Classical period, that is, representations of stories from mythology or the Bible that comprise the backbone of the Italian Renaissance movement. He moved to Paris to study art, but then went straight to the source – Rome – to study the Italian masters first hand. He was particularly influenced by Raphaël and Bernini. Poussin spent most of his life there, executing commissions for Cardinal Barberini.
Eschewing the increasingly popular Baroque style, he clung to Classicism and became its greatest French exponent. Poussin drew upon the rich store of Greek and Roman mythology for his subjects, while utilizing the techniques of color developed by Titian. His greatest canvases deal with vast subjects, crowd scenes crammed with action and detail. Later in life, Poussin tended to concentrate more on landscapes, although still steeped in the Classical tradition. Joyeux anniversaire, Nicolas!