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The riotous movement of the ancient is world brought to life by the French classical artist Nicolas Poussin in this major exhibition exploring a little known side to the famous artist: his love of dance.

Poussin was not known for accessible painting. His work was considered highbrow, difficult and often cold. The National Gallery wants to change this perception, presenting this previously unanalysed area of his work in the warm and accessible context it deserves.

His depictions of the dancers and revellers are wild and joyous scenes, rife with stumbling drunk figures and whirling cavorting bodies. He was tackling the challenge of depicting fluid movement and succeeded in capturing the expressive capabilities of the human body through static forms of art such as painting, clay and paper.

The exhibition will showcase around 20 of these paintings alongside the classical antiquities that inspired him, seen together for the first time. Highlights include his work across painting, paper and marble, as well as the unusual artist’s tool that was his model theatre ‘or grande machine’.

Explore Nicolas Poussin in an entirely new light, depicting joy and celebrating the amazing abilities of the moving body.

PaintingPrints & drawingsAncient & classical artBaroque & RococcoLondonArt gallery

National Gallery

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London, WC2N 5DN

020 7747 2885


Opening times

Daily 10am-6pm (Fri 10am-9pm).

Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan.

The National Gallery aims to make access to the paintings enjoyable and welcoming to the widest possible public. There are a range of facilities to help you see the collection, visit exhibitions and come to events ranging from step free access to Changing Places toilets.

We recommend booking your free entrance ticket in advance online to make sure that capacity is monitored and to limit queuing, ensuring your visit is as enjoyable as possible. However, if there is capacity available on the day you will not need a ticket.

For visitors with access requirements please call us on +44 (0)20 7747 2885.

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