Camillus and the Schoolmaster of Falerii
c. 1635-40
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594-1665)
On View

The incident depicted here is from Livy's account of the life of Republican leader and general Furius Camillus. While the general was besieging the town of Falerii, a local schoolmaster lured his pupils to the Roman camp, hoping to offer them as hostages. Finding the schoolmaster guilty of treason, Camillus offered him up to his students for punishment. The schoolmaster's twisted and distorted figure becomes a symbol of immorality and evil. The ethical Camillus, by contrast, is erect and well proportioned. Whatever the political overtones, Poussin's composition encourages us to contemplate the difference between shapeless ugliness and harmonious form.


  • Artist Name: Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594-1665)
  • Title: Camillus and the Schoolmaster of Falerii
  • Date: c. 1635-40
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 39-5/8 x 54 in. (100.6 x 137.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1970.14.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Painted for Michel Passart, Paris (d. 1692), ca. 1635, still in 1683.
Neyret de la Ravoye, in 1701.
J. Meijers, Rotterdam (sale, 9 September 1722, lot 1, as smaller of two works titled Furius Camillus, sold to);
Cornelis Wittert van Valkenburg, Rotterdam (sale, 11 April 1731, lot 4, bought-in);
Van Valkenberg, Rotterdam (sale, 7 October 1733, lot 14, sold to);
H. de Lange, The Hague.
Fürsten zu Schaumburg-Lippe, by 1738, (sale, Bückeburg, 3 April 1929, to);
Rosenbaum, Frankfort.
Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, sold 4 August 1931 to;
[Julius Böhler, Munich; stock nos. 31-62 / 7379, sold a 1/2 share to];
[Lucerne Fine Art Co., Lucerne, sold 5 April 1934 to];
Henri-Lévy, Strasbourg, by descent to;
Heirs of Henri-Lévy; offered November 1969 and subsequently sold 1970, by Claude Lang, Brussels (son-in-law of Henri-Lévy),
through Kenneth Walker, New York, to;
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970 to
Friedlander, Walter; and Anthony Blunt, The Drawings of Nicolas Poussin: A Catalogue Raisonné, p. 12
Le Siècle de Caragave dans les collections françaises, pp. 305, 307
Gelder, Jan Gerrit van, Overdruk uit het Rotterdams Jaarboekje, p. 172
Szanto, Mickaël, The Burlington Magazine, fig. 1 p. 197
Blunt, Anthony, The French Drawings in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, under no. 190 p. 39
Rosenberg, Pierre, Nicolas Poussin: 1594-1665, fig. 48a p. 213
Thuillier, Jacques, L'opera completa de Poussin, no. 89 p. 96
Olson, Todd P., Poussin and France: Painting, Humanism and the Politics of Style, fig. 25 pp. xiv, 36, 38, 43-50, 43, 53-54, 56-59, 67, 137, 172
Mahon, D., Actes, p. 261
Verdi, Richard, Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665, n. 39, 41 p. 30
Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, p. 205
Rosenberg, Pierre, France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century French Paintings in American Collections, no. 9 p. 370
Harris, Ann Sutherland, The Burlington Magazine, pp. 294, 295
Mahon, D., The Burlington Magazine, p. 303
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 62
Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum Pasadena, California, p. 67
Wright, Christopher, The French Painters of the 17th Century, p. 252
Jacques Thuillier, Nicolas Poussin, fig. 109 p. 534
Mahon, D., Gazette des Beaux-Arts, p. 100
Félibien, André, Entretiens sur les vies et sur les ouvrages des plus excellens peintres anciens et modernes, p. 176
Smith, John, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French painters, no. 175 p. 94
Bonadella, Peter, The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World, fig. 20 p. 98
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 739 p. 333
Blunt, Anthony, The Paintings of Nicolas Poussin: A Critical Catalogue, no. 143 pp. 102-103
Thuillier, Jacques, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Poussin, no. 89 p. 96
Friedlander, Walter, Gazette des Beaux Arts, pp. 52-57
Wollheim, Richard, Painting as an Art, fig. 190 p. 213
Blunt, Anthony, Nicolas Poussin, pp. 161, 168
Schnapper, A.; and M. J. Massat, Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art français, pp. 99-108
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