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

St John the Baptist Baptizes the People

c. 1635
Oil on canvas, 94 x 120 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Poussin here arranges the figures into a frieze-like composition, as if on an antique relief. The groups seen in profile on the left and right lend particular emphasis to the figures standing in the centre and viewed from the front. For the pose of the man kneeling in front of St John the Baptist, the painter looks back to a sarcophagus relief.

This subject is rather rare in painting.