After Nicolas Poussin
Since the early years of the sixteenth century, reproductive printmaking has played an important role in disseminating images to a wider audience. Perhaps no artist benefitted more from this practice than Nicolas Poussin, who executed few public works and whose preference for accepting commissions from a small group of patrons—many of whom resided in Rome—rendered his paintings relatively inaccessible. The artist’s reputation was won, at least in part, through engraved copies of his designs that, beginning in the later years of the seventeenth century, were broadly distributed throughout much of Europe.These reproductive prints additionally serve at times as the sole remaining record of Poussin’s work. Such is the case with Antoine Trouvain’s engraving of Moses Defending the Daughters of Jethro, which depicts the moment in Exodus (2:17) when Moses first encounters the family that will offer him respite in the land of Midian. Although numerous preparatory drawings can be found in European and American collections, the final canvas, thought to have been painted around 1645, is no longer extant.