As Andrew McClellan points out in his Inventing the Louvre: Art, Politics, and the Origins of the Modern Museum in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Poussin’s discussions about art with Andre Felibien led to Felibien’s publication in 1666 of Discussions Concerning the Lives and Works of the Most Excellent Painters, Ancient and Modern, one of the earliest attempts to map out the field of art history. Felibien’s work led to the development of the Louvre, which created the model for what we know as the modern art museum. Poussin, therefore, can be considered the “godfather” of art museums. Or at least I’d like to think so.
Whenever I look at Benjamin West’s gigantic paintings at the PAFA or think of Jacques-Louis David’s work during the French Revolution, I see the hand and the mind of Poussin working through time and still at work today.
[A very special “Poussinpalooza Day” to Poussin authority David Packwood of Art History Today, who is no doubt cringing at my humble attempt at a tribute.]