University of Cambridge
“Poussin’s Seven Sacraments:
Counter-Reformation, Catacombs, and the Pagan Mysteries“
UVA Minor Hall, 5:15pm
Missed the Lecture? Watch it here.
We are pleased to announce that Professor Eamon Duffy will visit the University of Virginia to give our 6th Annual Robert Louis Wilken Lecture. His public lecture will consider Nicholas Poussin’s two extraordinary series of paintings (1st series, 1637-40, 2nd series 1648-50) on the theme of the Seven Sacraments. Set in classical Rome, and deviating from all previous depictions of the subject, the picture sequences have baffled commentators. In the mid-20th century they were interpreted by the leading expert on Poussin, Anthony Blunt, as inspired by the scepticism of Poussin and his circle about contemporary Christianity: Blunt saw the pictures as coded celebrations of the pagan mysteries and of an undogmatic, universal natural religion, an interpretation which profoundly influenced subsequent Poussin scholarship. Professor Duffy will argue that this conventional reading in fact represents a radical misunderstanding of Poussin and his milieu, and that the pictures can best be understood in the context of the Roman Counter-Reformation of the early seventeenth century and the revival of interest in the catacombs and the early centuries of the Church. All are invited to attend this free lecture, so invite a friend or colleague to join us for this very special event with Professor Eamon Duffy.