Cardinal Camillo Massimo, Nicolas Poussin, and Claude Lorrain: A study of Neostoic patronage in baroque Rome

Victoria Curtin Gardner, University of Pennsylvania


Cardinal Camillo Massimo (1620-77) was among the most influential figures in the cultural world of seventeenth-century in Rome. His collection is distinguished by his taste for the classical and the classicizing, his interest in combining his literary and artistic interests, and his unusually intimate relationships with the artists he employed. This dissertation examines Massimo as a patron of contemporary painting, focusing on his collection of ten important works by Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. Massimo shared close, although different, relationships with both these painters that were unique among each artist's experience in terms of their intimacy and their effect on the works of art they produced for him. The paintings have not been considered as a group before, but when assembled they share remarkable similarities of content and form. The paintings are connected by references to Neostoicism, the combination of Christianity and classical Stoicism that emerged in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European intellectual circles. Evidence from Massimo's Library indicates his scholarly preference for this creed. My Neostoic analysis of this set of paintings is particularly revealing for the enigmatic late paintings by Poussin and Claude, the 1665 Apollo and Daphne and the 1673/4 Perseus and the Origin of Coral. When examined in the context of Massimo's collection and in terms of one another their mysteries begin to clarify and both paintings can be understood as allegorical representations of cyclical Neostoic cosmology.

Subject Area

Art History

Recommended Citation

Gardner, Victoria Curtin, "Cardinal Camillo Massimo, Nicolas Poussin, and Claude Lorrain: A study of Neostoic patronage in baroque Rome" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9840193.