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

Landscape with Diogenes

c. 1647
Oil on canvas, 160 x 221 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Whereas the mood of the London Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake is intentionally severe, the Landscape with Diogenes in the Louvre is much lighter in tone and mood. In it the well-known story of Diogenes, the humble philosopher, is depicted. Rejecting all worldly goods, he even throws away his last remaining possession, his drinking cup, when he sees a man drinking water from a stream by cupping his hands. The philosopher's final return to and communion with nature are expressed perfectly in the naturalistic landscape, and although there is a good deal of calculation in the placing of the tree silhouettes, it is the delicacy of each element and the subtle tonality of yellows and greens which dominate. Of all Poussin's work, this type of picture was imitated the least.