Poussin's Sacrament of Ordination

History, Faith, and the Sacred Landscape

Jonathan W. Unglaub

View Inside Price: $19.95


December 10, 2013
108 pages, 7 1/2 x 9 1/4
86 color + 5 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300195910
PB-with Flaps

Distributed for the Kimbell Art Museum

Painted by Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), TheSacrament of Ordination is a major milestone of Franco-Italian classicism of the 17th century. The magisterial painting depicts Christ’s charge to Saint Peter and offers a profound meditation on nature, faith, and the epochal unfolding of sacred history. This lovely book celebrates the work, recently acquired by the Kimbell Art Museum.
Jonathan W. Unglaub, esteemed authority on the topic, shows how Poussin ingeniously employed the landscape setting and seemingly incidental figures to imbue the apparently conventional but deceptively meaningful painting with a broad sweep of sacred history. The author also considers the painting in the context of Poussin’s two series of the Seven Sacraments and makes the case that the artist redefined the ambitions of narrative painting and landscape, sowing the seeds of pictorial classicism.


Jonathan W. Unglaub is chairman and associate professor of fine arts at Brandeis University.

“This book is a thorough, full and scholarly account of the Kimbell’s Sacrament of Ordination.”—Donald Lee, The Art Newspaper

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