POUSSIN, Nicolas
(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)

Bacchanal of Putti I

Oil on canvas, 56 x 76 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

There are two Bacchanals by Poussin in the Rome museum that are not actually pendants, as they are of different sizes. They are dated to 1626, on the basis of the interest that Poussin had at this time for the Bacchanals of Titian (the painter's enthusiasm is recorded by both Sandrart and Bellori). In both compositions Poussin "animates" putti borrowed from antique reliefs and shows them playing with objects also taken from antique friezes.

The execution of these two paintings fits perfectly with Poussin's interests and production during his first Roman years in Rome. Along with his colleagues Sandrart, Duquesnoy, Pietro da Cortona, Claude Lorrain and others, Poussin studied and drew from the Bacchanals of Titian at the Palazzo Aldobrandini and the Villa Ludovisi. Poussin actually copied certain details directly from Titian's famous Bacchanal of the Andrians, for example the "putto mingens" at the left of the larger picture. Other motifs echo the style of Poussin's fellow Frenchman Duquesnoy, with whom the painter shared Roman living quarters in 1626.