This examines how Poussin cultivated a poetics of painting from the literary culture of his own time, and especially through his response to the work of Torquato Tasso.
Tasso's poetic discourses were the most important source for Poussin's theory of painting.
The poet's ideas on artistic imitation, novelty, and plot structure and unity, which are exemplified in his epic La Gerusalemme liberata, proved to be fundamental to the artist's conception of narrative painting, culminating in the Israelites Gathering Manna.
In the paintings after the Gerusalemme, Poussin does not merely illustrate Tasso's verse, but cultivates pictorial means to refashion the poet's metaphors of desire.
The interplay of poetic and painterly imagery also animates Poussin's Ovidian masterpieces, the Echo and Narcissus and the Realm of Flora.
Offering interpretations of these works, this book also investigates Poussin's larger literary culture and how this context illuminates the artist's response to contemporary poetic texts.