In the last years of his life, Poussin rejects the cold, rational art and returns to the roots. He writes a number of landscapes and several self-portraits, which collectors order to him. “Self-portrait”, written for Shantelu, the patron of the artist, is characterized by a very calm posture and sustained in a very restrained color scheme.
From the dark space of the canvas, an old man looks at us, whose penetrating gaze and the pose itself speak of its power and sense of self-worth. The portrait has an allegorical meaning: in the background is a woman with a “third eye” – the emblem of sight. She expresses painting. One can see two hands wanting to hug a woman – this must mean a love of painting. Canvas purchased for the collection of the Louvre in 1797.