Nicolas Poussin

Landscape with a Woman Washing her Feet

1650
The prosaic title is taken from the painting's earliest commentator, the art theorist André Félibien, the artist's friend and champion. A man, hidden in the bushes, spies on the young woman and her guardian. Poussin's landscapes often take their subjects from ancient myths, but this story remains unidentified. Yet the work is painted with such seriousness that we are almost impelled to believe the event to be invested with meaning. Poussin looks back to the tradition of Venetian landscape painting, which had been recently re-evaluated in Rome. The artist's mature work, marked by reserve and discipline, is an important countercurrent in 17th-century art.
Title
Landscape with a Woman Washing her Feet
Date
1650
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
116.5 x 174.7 cm
Nationality
French
Credit line
Gift of Harry Stevenson Southam, Ottawa, 1944
Accession number
4587

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