The Sacrament of Extreme Unction (1644)
About this artwork
Poussin represented this Sacrament of final blessing with the moving scene of a dying Christian Roman soldier anointed with holy oil by a priest. The figure group resembles a classical relief sculpture in its horizontal emphasis, while the room's central perspective provides a stage like setting. Poussin did use a model stage with wax figures to plan some of his compositions and to study the play of light and shadow. Here candle light complements the intense emotion of the scene. It was one of the first paintings completed in the artist's second series of Seven Sacraments (1644-1648) created for Paul Freart de Chantelou.
- title: The Sacrament of Extreme Unction
- accession number: NGL 067.46 G
- artist: Nicolas PoussinFrench (1594 - 1665)
- gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
- object type: Painting
- subject: Military and naval Religion and occultism Death Religious Emotions
- materials: Oil on canvas
- date created: 1644
- measurements: 117.00 x 178.00 cm (151.00 x 212.00 x 11.40 cm)
- credit line: Bridgewater Collection Loan, 1945
Poussin aimed to achieve a pure and noble style of painting inspired by the classical ideals of ancient art and the work of Raphael. Born in Normandy, he trained in Paris before arriving in Rome in 1624. Apart from a brief return to Paris (1640-42) he remained in Rome. He did not employ assistants and preferred painting for private patrons, Italian and French, who shared his scholarly and artistic interests. His work exerted a profound influence on French academic painting. The formal structure and rigour of his compositions, however, has continued to inspire modern artists.