There are parts of human history that I obsess with simply because they reveal a portion of truth about the nature of mankind, as to what we are capable of. I like to paint these important events in history, to repurpose them, and link them compositionally to a historical work of art about the same event. Nicolas Poussin did the same thing here.
Poussin took the history of Germanicus’s murder and used it as a compositional model: a sarcophagus from Rome. Brilliant conceptual, compositional oil painting; albeit there are so few that can and will connect the dots to read this painting as it was intended to be read by Poussin.
This oil painting is a Masterwork example of compositional oil painting. Go spend some time reading its imagery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
“The Death of Germanicus”
1627, oil on canvas
Germanicus was murdered out of envy and fear…
…fear always has and always will destroy mankind’s future.