Poussin, Claude, and French Drawing in the Classical Age

June 16 through October 15, 2017

The French refer to the seventeenth century as the Grand Siècle, or the Great Century. Under the rule of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, the period saw a dramatic increase in French political and military power, the maturation of French courtly life at Versailles, and an unparalleled flourishing of the arts.

Poussin, Claude, and French Drawing in the Classical Age explores the work of some of the most celebrated artists of the time. More than fifty drawings largely from the Morgan’s collections—including works by Claude Lorrain (1600–1682), Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), Jacques Callot (1592–1635), and Charles Le Brun (1619–1690)—are on view in the exhibition. Together they demonstrate the era’s distinctive approach to composition and subject matter, informed by principles of rationalism, respect for the art of classical antiquity, and by a belief in a natural world governed by divine order.

Poussin, Claude, and French Drawing in the Classical Age is made possible with generous support from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust and the estate of Alex Gordon.

Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), The Holy Family on the Steps, pen and brown ink, brown wash, with touches of gray wash, over black chalk, on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum.

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Selected images