The artist is considered the greatest classical French painter of the 17th century.
Extreme Unction by Nicolas Poussin, c. 16381640
© Fitzwilliam Museum
- Oil on canvas Dimensions: 95.5 x 121 cm
- Art Fund grant:
- £100,000 ( Total: £3,865,101)
- Acquired in:
- Trustees of the 10th Duke of Rutland's Poussin Settlement
In the 1630s he was commissioned by the antiquarian Cassiano dal Pozzo to depict the seven Sacraments in a set of paintings. For five of the Sacraments he chose scenes from the Bible, but for Confirmation and Extreme Unction he depicted liturgical scenes in the life of the early Church. The set was received with great enthusiasm and was a must see for visitors to Rome on the Grand Tour. The painting will be a wonderful addition to the Baroque paintings at the museum, hanging alongside other pictures by French artists who visited Rome and near to paintings by Italian artists who worked or lived there. The painting greatly strengthen the museum's potential for teaching at all levels, particularly in out-reach programmes where the subject matter will be of considerable interest. Poussins beautiful and sensitive depiction of the moment just before death will encourage comparison with the way people of different cultures and beliefs approach death and bereavement. The work was secured after a successful fundraising campaign led by the Art Fund and the Fitzwilliam where almost £1 million was donated from the public and charities, including a £100,000 grant from the Art Fund and contributions from almost 3,000 of our members which brought in an extra £142,000.
Commissioned by Cavaliere Cassiano dal Pozzo; by inheritance to his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo; by descent to his grandson, Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo; by inheritance to his daughter, Maria Laura dal Pozzo Boccapaduli; by inheritance to the Boccapaduli family; sold by James Byres on behalf of the Boccapaduli family to Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, 1785; by descent at Belvoir Castle.
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