Eighty-five

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The Triumph of David

c1630 by Nicolas Poussin
Dulwich Picture Gallery

Poussin crops up throughout the central hall of Dulwich Picture Gallery; easily decipherable in the grandly clustered walls, his paintings draw viewers’ eyes in with their distinctive style. What is most instantly recognisable is the colours Poussin consistently draws upon, which are made obvious in these crowded walls, as he hangs amongst his brighter contemporaries. Refusing to rely on pinks or blues Poussin’s pallet is of the earth, drawing its intensity from heat and dust in musty yellow and terracotta. The paintings exhale the atmosphere of antique warmth, ancient scenes remembered among the pillars of ancient times; Biblical stories acted out in the hot imagination of an idealism of times passed. The painting grounds itself in its colouration; the warmth of light and dust of the city give an atmosphere that can almost be felt or touched. The costumes betray the seventeenth-century; the white-capped maid’s dress that cascades down to the Grecian gods in gentlemen’s togas, while the children that surround her sit as cherubs or Italian putti, all rosy rounded limbs with auburn curls. If you do visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery pay Pouissin a visit.

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