(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)
The Plague at Ashdod1630
Oil on canvas, 148 x 198 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
By 1630, Poussin was moving towards the uncompromising statements about the moral condition of humanity that were to characterize his work. In that year he painted the Plague of Ashdod (Louvre, Paris), which sets the style and mood of his work for the next five years. The figures are interlocked in an extremely complex composition which appears somewhat disorganized; in depicting the Old Testament theme, in which the spectator is spared none of the horror, Poussin was trying to achieve accuracy. The following year he painted the Empire of Flora (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie), a more cheerful subject but with a similarly interlocking frieze of figures. It is round these two pictures, datable through documents, that the rest of Poussin's pictures supposedly painted around 1630 have to be grouped.