The Rape of the Sabine Women (1633-34) by Nicolas Poussin

The Rape of the Sabine Women - Poussin, Nicolas - 1633-34

Artwork Information

TitleThe Rape of the Sabine Women
ArtistNicolas Poussin
Date1633-34
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions60 7/8 x 82 5/8 in. (154.6 x 209.9 cm)
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About The Rape of the Sabine Women

Nicolas Poussin’s art piece “The Rape Of The Sabine Women” was painted between 1633-34 and is based on an episode in the earliest history of ancient Rome. This significant event was founded by Romulus, the leading figure of the Roman Empire. The painting recounts the legend that when Romans realized their lack of wives, they invited their neighbours from neighbouring nations – Sabines – to a festival in Rome. With no intention of providing a peaceful settlement, soldiers abducted Sabine women as brides for them and their families.

The subject matter of Nicolas’ artwork has been used for centuries as a warning sign to illustrate the dangers that can arise from a lack of communication between nations. It also speaks to larger problems surrounding Romulus’ visionist society, which required citizens to be productive and use their souls compositions to build Rome up until it became one of Europe’s most powerful cities in 1600s BC.

What’s inspiring about the painting is that even after the abduction, Romulus seeks to mend his nation’s relationship with its neighbors by allowing the Sabines and Romans to celebrate together through dance and music, signifying hope in times of distress (“The Dance To The Music Of Time”). This demonstrates how earlier civilizations taught us how we can bring peace and harmony between conflicts if we try hard enough.

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