La Crucifixion (1644-1646)

Poussin, Nicolas (1594-1665)

La Crucifixion (The Crucifixion)
Oil on canvas, 148.59 x 218.44 cm
Wadsworth AtheneumHartford

This Crucifixion dramatically illustrates the moment of Christ’s death when the sky went dark, graves were opened, and the bodies of the saved rose up. At the right foreground, we can see Adam, whose grave was believed to be on Golgotha. The complicated scene is contained by the great arc formed by the three crosses, while gestures and gazes unite the figures within the space. We know from Poussin’s letters that he became completely consumed by the theme and never tried to paint it again. The painting was always dark, but has suffered due to changes in the paint pigments and early harsh cleanings. (WA)