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Poussin and French Dynastic Ideology

Judith Bernstock

This book reveals that many of Nicolas Poussin’s most renowned mythological and biblical paintings were intended as celebrations of the Bourbon monarchy.
It now becomes clear that Poussin, long considered the greatest painter of early modern France, was also preeminent in supporting Bourbon claims and in establishing an early, multilayered iconography of absolutism in French painting. His rhetorical techniques for exalting the Bourbons correspond to the endeavours of Louis XIII and Richelieu in exploiting the arts to create a public image of dynastic continuity. Using an approach of cultural history, this book shows that Poussin’s art emerges as a fascinating and even witty mirror of seventeenth-century French culture.
Contents: Louis XIII – Louis XIV – Bourbon dynasty – Moses – David and Goliath – Romulus – Et in Arcadia Ego – Pierre de Ronsard – Institution of the Prince – False hieroglyphics – Dynastic succession and royal metaphors – Hecate – Saturn – Omphale – Pierre Gassendi – Gabriel Naudé – Charles de Noailles – Galileo.