Saint John Baptizing in the River Jordan

Object Details

Title:

Saint John Baptizing in the River Jordan

Artist/Maker(s):

Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1630s

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

95.6 x 121.3 cm (37 5/8 x 47 3/4 in.)

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"My temperament compels me to look for and take pleasure in well-ordered things. I avoid confusion, which is contrary and opposed to my nature, just as light is opposed to the darkness of night," wrote Nicolas Poussin.

Saint John baptizes the multitudes in an ideal landscape, framed by a tree trunk on each side. Clothed in antique costumes, the orderly followers have arranged themselves into a carefully balanced frieze. As always, Poussin approached this religious work from the tradition of order, clarity, and harmony associated with the art of ancient Greece and Rome.

Poussin painted this religious scene for one of his key patrons, Roman antiquarian and scientist Cassiano dal Pozzo. Also in the 1630s, Poussin painted a series of the Seven Sacraments for Cassiano, to which this canvas may be related.

Provenance
about 1630s - 1657

Cassiano dal Pozzo, 1588 - 1657 (Rome, Italy), commissioned from the artist, about 1630s; by inheritance to his younger brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo II, 1657.

1657 - 1689

Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo II, 1606 - 1689 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his son, Gabriele dal Pozzo, 1689.

1689 - 1695

Gabriele dal Pozzo, died 1695 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his nephew, Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo, 1695.

possibly 1695 - about 1725

Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo, died 1740 (Rome, Italy), held in trust by Marchese del Bufalo as pledge for a debt, about 1725.

about 1725 - 1730/1732

Marchese del Bufalo (Rome, Italy), probably returned to Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo, 1730/1732.

1730/1732 - 1740

Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo, died 1740 (Rome, Italy), by inheritance to his daughter, Maria Laura dal Pozzo Boccapaduli, 1740.

about 1739 -

Maria Laura dal Pozzo Boccapaduli (Rome, Italy), by inheritance within the Boccapaduli family.

- 1785

Boccapaduli Family (Rome, Italy), sold to James Byres, 1785.

1785

James Byres, sold to Charles Manners, 1785.

1785 - 1787

Charles Manners, fourth duke of Rutland, 1754 - 1787 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to his son, John Henry Manners, 1787.

1787 - 1857

John Henry Manners, fifth duke of Rutland, 1778 - 1857 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to his son, Charles Cecil John Manners, 1857.

1857 - 1888

sixth duke of Rutland Charles Cecil John Manners, 1815 - 1888 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to his brother, John James Robert Manners, 1888.

1888 - 1906

John James Robert Manners, seventh duke of Rutland, 1818 - 1906 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to his son, Henry John Brinsley Manners, 1906.

1906 - 1925

Henry John Brinsley Manners, eighth duke of Rutland, 1852 - 1925 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to his second son, John Henry Montagu Manners, 1925.

1925 - 1940

John Henry Montagu Manners, ninth duke of Rutland, 1886 - 1940 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), by inheritance to Charles John Robert Manners, 1940.

1940 - 1958

Charles John Robert Manners, tenth duke of Rutland, 1919 - 1999 (Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England), sold (through Marlborough Gallery) to heirs of Emil Georg Bührle, 1958.

1958 - 1966

Heirs of Emil Georg Bührle, Swiss, 1890 - 1956 (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Marlborough Gallery, 1966.

1966 - 1971

Marlborough Gallery (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Exhibitions
Works of Art from Midland Houses (July 18 to September 6, 1953) (Cat. 135)
  • Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, (Birmingham), July 18 to September 6, 1953
Hauptwerke der Sammlung Emil Georg Bührle - Zürich (December 5, 1958 to February 15, 1959) (Cat. 125)
  • Haus der Kunst (Munich), December 5, 1958 to February 15, 1959
L'ideale classico del seicento in Italia e la pittura di paesaggio (September 8 to November 11, 1962) (Cat. 62)
  • Palazzo Dell'Archiginnasio, (Bologna), September 8 to November 11, 1962
The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972) (Cat. 41)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 41, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 71, 125, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 68.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 80, ill.

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987), pp. 65, 67.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 99, ill.