Visions of Antiquity
In 1624 the young French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) moved to Rome, where he would spend most of his life and become one of the most important artists of his day.
To Poussin and many other artists, ancient Rome was an important source of inspiration. They were inspired by emotionally charged sculptures such as the Laocoön Group, which is represented in this room by the Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries’ version of the main protagonist of the group.
Entering into creative dialogues with his Italian aristocratic patrons, Poussin created a new kind of landscape painting: the so-called heroic landscape. These were Arcadian imaginary landscapes in which heroes from myths and legends carry out splendid deeds as an example to us all.
Poussin’s student, Gaspar Dughet, and the slightly younger Claude Lorrain picked up the mantle by also favouring ideal landscapes where shepherds from bygone times live in a state of harmony with nature.