Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Et in Arcadia Ego, Poussin

Even in Arcadia, I exist. 

This pastoral piece by the French artist, Nicolas Poussin, shows the contrast of life and death through the Greek shepherds gathered around a newly-found overgrown tomb. The shepherds have discovered this tomb in their wandering it appears and their fascination with it is almost eerie. The shepherd kneeling is tracing his own shadow on the tomb, an unconscious action speaking to his ultimate fate of one day being in a tomb very similar. 

Normally this titular phrase, Et in Arcadia Ego, is normally believed to be said by Death. However, most believe that Poussin interpreted it in the most literal way "Even in Arcardia, I," as in, "that person in this tomb is from Arcadia." 

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