Artwork of the month: “The Death of Germanicus”

5November 2008

The dirty little Emperor Tiberius poisoned his adopted son Germanicus.  Envy will do that to a guy if he is as twisted as Tiberius was.  This romantic painting is a stoic tribute to his death. 
Nicolas Poussin

French, 1594-1665
“The Death of Germanicus”
1627, oil on canvas
What I love more than anything is that Poussin was giving respect to the past, and at the same time, taking the composition for his own, reinterpreted in his own voice.  The original composition was based on a roman sarcophagus relief.  Poussin connected the history of his subject matter with his composition.   His forms were an important part of his content, and I am very happy that someone understood the importance enough to record it.  
Painting history, it is a noble art…
…and one where I will be mistaken.