The Death of Sapphira (circa 1652)

The Louvre Museum, Richelieu wing, 2d floor, room 14

Oil on canvas, 122 x 199 cm

Nicolas Poussin - The Death of Sapphira

For Jacques Thuillier this painting is “one of the finest works of the 1650’s ; the staging uses a fully theatrical point of view, while providing admirable atmospheric effects on the distance animated with small characters.” [translated]

Details of the painting:

The Death of Sapphira - Detail 1  The Death of Sapphira - Detail 2  The Death of Sapphira - Detail 3  The Death of Sapphira - Detail 4  The Death of Sapphira – Detail 5  The Death of Sapphira – Detail 6

Description of the painting by Bellori:

“Tragic is the miracle of Saint Peter against Sapphira, wife of Ananias, who lies on the ground, punished to death; a woman rushes to help her and another one takes her from behind by one arm, turning towards Saint Peter who, with a severe look on his face, commands her to bear Sapphira to the grave of her husband. Two other apostles accompany Saint Peter, one of whom points to heaven where the punishment came from, for Sapphira and for her husband. In the other faces of bystanders a great fright is expressed, and one woman is depicted there who gazes at the dead Sapphira, and another one who turns back with a baby on her hip and, departing in fear, touches the other one on the arm and invites her to come away with her.”

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