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The Dance by Nicolas Poussin

The exhibition “Poussin and the Dance” presents an event in the event. At The National Gallery, London, the painting “Dance to the Music of Time”, (1634–6) has been loaned by the Wallace Collection, first time in its 121-year history.
Probably everything could be stopped here but, something to write it’s possible.
From the statement written by the director of the National Gallery (dr Gabriele Finaldi) “the exhibition explores the subject with a remarkable group of loans culminating in his masterwork, Dance to the Music of Time”. This painting through “is rhythmic composition and enigmatic allegory has enchanted visitors for decades” (director of the Wallace Collection dr Xavier Bray).
Therefore the focus is in that master painting: an influential artworks for century giving inspirations to the following artists such as Bacon, Picasso, David, the Impressionists and Cézanne.
Not only “Dance to the Music of Time” but also during the art show it’s possible to highlight the Poussin’s technique, his diligent way to paint always connected to an idea and a perception of freshness, joyful, mythological carefree life and kindness.
Over twenty among drawings and paintings have been collected to trace Poussin’s influences and sophisticated translations created during his carrier.
Biographically, Ncolas Poussin (Les Andelys, June 1594 – Rome 19/11/1665) approached an idea of art during the stay of the painter Quentin Varin (circa 1570 – 1630) in his home town, determining his vocation. Subsequently, in 1612, at the age of 18 Puossin left the family home clandestinely to learn the craft of painting in Paris. The city of Rome was an obsession for him and after two attempts he could bring himself into the Classical world, drawing inspiration from antique sculptures and bas reliefs as well as the works of artists such as Raphael and Titian. The connection with Italy has been always strong, for this reason it’s possible to find his nick in Italian language: Niccolò Pussino.
In a century known for the Baroque, Nicolas Poussin found a main inspiration from the ancient classical and mythological world, always providing a composition unrelated to the century in which he lived. His expressive forms tend to be contemporary. He has managed to block the movement of his figures capturing and blocking the expressive potential of the body. A photographic instant always vital allowing to visualize continuous forces always in perceptions of movement.
The Poussin’s exhibition wants to highlight precisely this aspect and topic along an highest quality presentation. In addition to dance: portraits, religious and biblical scenes, landscapes are further themes that complete a path dedicated to art.
In the end, even if the subject is quite different from dance and music, the sense of movement of the scene is well describe by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) regarding the painting “Le ravissement de saint Paul”: «Poussin wanted to depict – through the movement of parts at the top of the face – the sweetness and tranquility enjoyed by those in a perfect state of grace and – through the parts at the bottom – the contempt and aversion that they have for things of the world».
After London, to join the partnership and the co-organization, the exhibition has scheduled next year at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, from 15 February to 8 May 2022).

Poussin and the Dance
9 October 2021 – 2 January 2022
London, National Gallery
Ground Floor Galleries
Admission charge, free for Members

by Alain Chivilò

© Alain Chivilò