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

The Empire of Flora

Oil on canvas, 131 x 182 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

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 following year he painted the Empire of Flora, 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.

This is one of the earliest paintings executed by Poussin in Rome. It was commissioned by the Sicilian nobleman Fabrizio Valguarnera.