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

The Rape of the Sabine Women (detail)

Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The turbulent scene plays out in front of the viewer as if on a stage: from his elevated position on the left, Romulus gives the pre-arranged signal to his companions to seize and carry off the virgins amongst the Sabines, who had been invited to attend a festival organized by the Romans. On the square below, his signal sparks a rotary motion amongst the figures, who are rushing away from the centre in all directions.