The Sacrament of Extreme Unction

Reference URL

The Sacrament of Extreme Unction 1644


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.

Glossary Open


A general term for art and architecture based on ancient Greek and Roman culture.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.


The principle of representing depth on a flat surface so that items further away from the eye appear smaller and parallel lines appear to converge.


A form of sculpture where the image or design projects from a flat surface types of which include, bas-relief or low relief.

Classicism, Composition, Perspective, Relief


  • Acc. No. NGL 067.46 G
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 117.00 x 178.00 cm (151.00 x 212.00 x 11.40 cm)
  • Credit Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland (Bridgewater Loan, 1945)