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Rubens vs. Poussin

Compare and contrast the paintings of Rubens with those of Poussin. Though Poussin and Rubens are both Baroque painters from Catholic countries, they have individual styles. Consider what makes their work fit under the rubric Baroque. Also, think about how important drawing and craft is to their respective works.

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There are a couple of sites which present this debate between these two artists and their followers. These are both located on Google using the search phrase "Rubens vs. Poussin" You can use these to help formulate your response to this question. My summation is at the bottom of this solution.


Artists have argued about art since the earliest prehistoric painters debated the advisability of including human figures amongst the animals on the walls of their caves. In matters of taste, there is always room for disagreement. Perhaps one of the longest, most divisive, art controversies took place in France during the mid-1800s. The two camps were called the Poussinistes and the Rubenistes after their titular idols, Nicholas Poussin and Peter Paul Rubens. The Poussinistes proclaimed the primacy of drawing and draughtsmanship in painting while the Rubenistes argued that colour should rule the day. The Poussinistes followed the well-worn path of classical art from Greek and Roman antiquities up through the Renaissance. The Rubenistes adored the vibrant colours and aggressive brushstrokes of the more recent Baroque artists.

Actually, Poussin and Rubens themselves had little or nothing to do with the controversy. The real protagonists were Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (pronounced Ang) and Eugène Delacroix (pronounced Dela-qua). Ingres had been a student of the outstanding classical master-painter Jacques-Louis David (pronounced Da-veed) and was 18 years older than his rival. The ...

Solution Summary

Discussion of the differences in opinion of Rubens and his followers and Poussin and his followers: or line vs. color.