Death of Germanicus by Nicolas Poussin

Death of Germanicus by Nicolas Poussin

This picture, which played a happy role in the life of Poussin, was commissioned by his cardinal Francesca Barberini. After her, the artist’s fame rapidly grew. Many agree that “The Death of Germanicus” is one of the most famous works of Poussin. In 1798, the Anglo-Swiss artist Henri Füsli wrote that “this painting alone would be enough to preserve the name of Poussin in Eternity.”

Surprisingly, but a fact: Poussin was the first European artist to draw attention to this episode of ancient history, which contains many interesting possibilities for a painter, the tragic death

of Germanicus. The hero of the picture, the nephew and adoptive son of the emperor Tiberius, became famous for his commanding feats, conquering Germanic peoples, for which he was nicknamed Germanicus.

The commander was loved by soldiers and people. The growing fame of Germanicus kindled envy in the hearts of his enemies. They brought his demise closer, poisoning him. In short, the death of Germanicus – the plot is very fruitful, and it is strange that no one before Poussin encroached on him. The more valuable for us is the testimony of a biographer, who reports that the master chose him on his own, and not on someone else’s orders.

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