Poussin: Restructured

"...experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new."

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

 

   Poussin: Restructured. The  paintings presented here are, simply put, the product of my lifelong search as a painter for lasting and meaningful structure in my art. The paintings of Paul Cezanne have been at the very heart of this effort, both as an inspiration and as a source of information. Cezanne, having learned the techniques of the Impressionists, namely painting en plein air and the ensuing use of brilliant color to represent the effects of natural light, especially in landscape, became deeply distressed at the loss of  structure and significant form, and longed for what he termed “the art of the museums.”  In this he was, in essence, a reactionary. He wanted to go back to Nicolas Poussin, who literally created and established landscape structure in European painting in the early and mid 17th century. As Cezanne himself put it, he wanted to “do Poussin over after Nature.” 

   All of Poussin’s paintings contain figures, often many figures. These figures are integral to the landscape, not only directing the eye across the surface of the painting but also back into depth. Pure landscape was unheard of in Poussin’s time, as paintings were commissioned to tell a story –  from the Bible, from mythology, or from history. Fast forward to Cezanne, who, taking a cue from the Impressionists, who had in their turn taken a cue from the previous generation of French landscape painters, used landscape itself to tell the entire story. Without the figures, the conundrum of representing three dimensional space on two dimensional canvas became paramount. No trompe l’oeil, no form diminishing atmospheric perspective, no over-riding abstract geometry. Only color and form at their richest!  Humbly, with Poussin: Restructured, I endeavor to do Cezanne “over after Poussin over after Nature.”

All paintings are oil on canvas, 125 x 175 cm.

   Titles of original landscape paintings by Nicolas Poussin as published in: Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions, edited by Pierre Rosenberg and Keith Christiansen. New York, New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press, 2008.

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 01

A Pastoral Scene

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 02

Landscape with Hagar and the Angel

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 03

Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 04

Midas, Pan, and Shepherds

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 05

The Infancy of Bacchus

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 06

Landscape with a River God

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 07

Landscape with an Ancient Tomb

Poussin: Restructured No. 08

Landscape with Saint Matthew

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 09

Venus and Adonis

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 10

Landscape with Three Men

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 11

Landscape with Travelers Resting

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 12

Landscape with Saint John on Patmos

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 13

Landscape with a Storm

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 14

Landscape with a Man Pursued by a Snake

 

Poussin: Restructured No. 15

Self Portrait Combination of Nicolas Poussin

Poussin: Restructured No. 02

Landscape with Hagar and the Angel 125x175 cm