Nicolas Poussin

The Sacrament of Ordination

About this artwork

Christ holds up the symbolic keys of heaven before presenting them to Peter his chief disciple and 'the rock' on which he will build the church. The large E on the free standing column may refer to 'Ecclesia' (The Church). The other disciples acknowledge this significant moment through their varied gestures and expressions. Poussin planned every detail to ensure a balanced composition appropriate in mood and authentic in setting. He was the first artist to paint The Seven Sacraments or rites of the Christian Church as a series of individual pictures, which he did twice. This work belongs to his second set of 1644-48, painted for Paul Freart de Chantelou.

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Nicolas Poussin

Nicolas Poussin