The Ideal Landscape

Ideal Landscape, Nicolas Poussin 1645-1650Our colleagues from Grailseekers report a great discovery in the painting The Ideal Landscape by Nicolas Poussin. In this painting that was probably created by the artist between 1645 and 1650 we see a landscape with a great mountain in the back. In the front a lying figure shows the way to what appears to be two shepherds. Centrally in the painting there are twoSeal of the Knights Templar figures riding one horse. The two riders on a single horse is of course reminiscent of the seal of the Knights Templar. The symbol was used to exemplify the vow of poverty that each Templar Knight took. The symbol also evokes the notion of sacrifice for one’s brother and therefore for the order.

Mount Bugarach and a detail of Poussin's ideal landscapeMoreover, the mountain in the back bears some resemblance to Mount Bugarach, the identifying landmark in the region of Rennes-le-Château.

UPDATE 22/1/2012: Long live the internet. Gino Oliviero of the Italian Facebook Rennes-le-Château group did some further research. He found a high resolution scan on which you can clearly see that it’s not one horse but two, one carrying a woman in a blue dress. That’s another mystery gone!

Two horses on the Ideal Landscape

Picture shown here with kind permission.


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3 thoughts on “The Ideal Landscape

    • Hey Hans, nice to see you here! I still need to adjust the article a bit. It’s an interesting notion that Poussin might have painted two figures to give the impression of the Templar Seal.


  1. The background behind the horses is very dark. The first horse is brown, which is a good contrast to the background. The second horse is black, and there is no contrast to the background. Poussin will not be so stupid to paint a black horse in front of a dark background. There could be only one reason : He want us to see one horse with two riders. But if we come nearer to the surface, we can see that black horse. If we look on the watersurface, we can se the riders mirrowed . But o wonder : there is only one rider with one horse. The second rider and the black horse is not visible.

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