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Ecstasy of Saint Paul

Ecstasy of Saint Paul

Artist: Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 - 1665)

Date: 1643
Medium: Oil on wood
Framed: 24 × 19 1/2 × 3 1/8 in. (61 × 49.5 × 7.9 cm)
Image: 16 3/8 x 11 7/8 in. (41.6 x 30.2 cm)
Credit Line: Museum purchase, 1956
Object number: SN690
On View: Art Museum Gallery 07
About this ObjectIn this small painting, Nicolas Poussin was faced with two huge tasks. He had to flatter his major patron as well as compete with the artist he most admired. The patron was Paul Fréart de Chantelou, a connoisseur who commissioned Poussin's major religious cycle, The Seven Sacraments. The artist whom Poussin most admired was the Renaissance master, Raphael, whose Vision of Ezekiel was owned by Chantelou.

According to the New Testament, during an ecstatic vision St. Paul was carried by angels to the Third Heaven. Poussin chose the subject of St. Paul both as a natural New Testament complement to the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, as well as to honor his patron, Paul.

When the painting was finished, Poussin wrote a letter to Chantelou asking him never to show his painting next to that of Raphael. Instead, he suggested it be used as a cover for "that precious painting."
Painted in 1643 for Paul Fréart de Chantelou (1609–1694), Rome. By 1713, Nicolas de Launay (1646–1727), Paris; presumably purchased in 1727 by Louis (1703–1752), duc d’Orléans, Paris; Louis Philippe (1725–1785), duc d’Orléans, Paris; Louis Philippe Joseph (1747–1793), duc d’Orléans, Paris; sold in 1791 with the French and Italian paintings of the Orléans collection to vicomte Edouard de Walkiers, Brussels; sold in 1792 to Walquiers’s cousin, François Louis Joseph (d. 1801), comte Laborde de Méréville, Paris and London; (consigned from 1792–98 to Jeremiah Harman, London); (sold to Michael Bryan, acting on behalf of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, the 5th Earl of Carlisle, and Lord Gower); Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, and George Granville Leveson-Gower, later 1st Duke of Sutherland, London; (sold Orléans sale, Mr. Bryan’s Gallery, Pall Mall, London, 26 December 1798, lot 28, for 400 guineas, to William Smith); by 1824, George Watson Taylor (1771–1841), London and Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire; (offered Taylor sale, Christie’s, London, 14 June 1823, lot 53, bought in); (sold Taylor sale, Henry J. & George Henry Robins, Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire, 25 July 1832, lot 159, for £71–80s, to Agar); Prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov (1782–1856), Alupka, Crimea; by inheritance to Maria Vassilievna Vorontsova (1819–1894), who in 1880 took the painting to her villa in Montughi, near Florence; by inheritance to her son, Nicolas Stolypin (d. 1899, in Paris); (sold Stolypin sale, Giulio Sambon, Florence, at the Villa Vorontsova, Via Santa Marta, Montughi, near Florence, 23 April 1900, lot 388). Dr. Adolf Hommel, Zurich, Switzerland; (sold Hommel sale, J. M. Heberle, Zurich, 20 August 1909, lot 108, for 2,200 Swiss francs). By 1917, Dr. Karl Lanz, Mannheim. (Purchased in Germany by Frederick Mont); (sold to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York); purchased by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, 1956.
More Information
Exhibition History:Orléans Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art, 10/25/2018 - 01/27/2019 Poussin et la peinture religieuse (Religious paintings of Poussin) Musée du Louvre, 03/30/2015 - 06/29/2015 Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, 01/24/1990 - 03/25/1990
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