Landscape with the Ashes of Phocion (collected by His Widow) by Nicolas Poussin

Regarded as a cornerstone of the classical landscape tradition, this painting is also one of Poussin's supreme achievements.


Oil on canvas
118.5 x 177.6 cm
Art Fund grant:
£50,000 ( Total: £1,150,000; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Trustees of Lord Derby's Heirlooms Settlement

Phocion, a noble Athenian general, was condemned to death by his enemies and forced to drink hemlock. His body was carried outside the city walls, in the outskirts of Megara, where it was cremated. The scene depicted here shows Phocion's widow gathering the ashes to transport them back to Athens, where they were accorded an honourable burial once the tide of political opinion had changed. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.


Painted for M.Serisier, in 1648; Lord Derby, Knowsley Hall from 1782.

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