The composition of this painting is highly centralised, with the revellers arranged in a tightly knit group around the figure of Pan.

They are participating in this highly formal arrangement, a ceremonial dance which is both an exuberant display of erotic energy and a celebration of fertility. This painting is a milestone in Poussin's career, and shows him with characteristic rigour reforming his style by turning to the examples of classical antiquity and the early Renaissance. For his contemporaries it must have seemed like a reversion to primitivism, but it nevertheless established the basis of the style which was to serve him for the rest of his career.


Bought for an undisclosed sum by Trustees of Walter Morrison Pictures Settlement

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Exhibitions at National Gallery

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