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The Triumph of Pan

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You are viewing image NG6477

Nicolas POUSSIN , 1594 - 1665

The Triumph of Pan

Date: 1636
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 135.9 x 146 cm
Acquisition credit: Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the National Art Collections Fund, 1982

A number of literary and visual references are combined in this pagan celebration. Nymphs and satyrs with goats carouse before a term of the god Pan. His identity may here be combined with that of Priapus. Pan was god of woods and fields, and Priapus a deity of gardens; both are associated with fertility and Bacchic ritual. The instruments played, the sacrificial deer, and the props in the foreground are either attributes of these figures or linked with such rites. They include panpipes, theatrical masks (comedy, tragedy and satire), and a shepherds staff.

This picture was commissioned by Cardinal de Richelieu and dispatched from Rome to Paris in May 1636. With its companion, 'The Triumph of Bacchus' (Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art), it was designed to form part of the decoration of the Cabinet du Roi in the Ch√Ęteau de Richelieu. There are a number of preparatory drawings by Poussin for this painting, including some in the collection of H.M. The Queen at Windsor Castle.






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