(or ‘Final Anointing’) is one of a set of seven scenes representing the sacraments of the Catholic Church, painted between 1638 and 1640 by the French artist Nicolas Poussin
Commissioned in Rome by the renowned connoisseur Cassiano dal Pozzo
, the scene depicts a dying man being anointed with oil in accordance with the rites of the early Roman church. To enhance the realism of the scene, Poussin drew on his extensive study of the art and artefacts of classical antiquity to represent the costumes, setting, and the structure of the painting itself, with the figures disposed frieze-like across the composition. This classicising tendency went on to make an inestimable impact on Western art, influencing many of the greatest painters of subsequent generations, from Jacques-Louis David
and Ingres to Cézanne
; even today artists continue to be inspired by Poussin’s work and ideas about painting. Read more...