Chasteau, Guillaume (1635-83), after Poussin, Nicolas (1594-1665)
Le matin la terre fut couverte, comme d’une bruyne… [The Gathering of Manna] 1680
Gift of George Collins Levey 1879
National Gallery of Victoria (p.183.16-1)
= Levey gift, cat.4
This engraving (identified as by Chasteau in both NGV 1894 and 1905) reverses the composition of Poussin’s canvas of c.1637-39, formerly at Versailles (now in the Louvre).
Poussin, writing to his patron Chantelou about the painting in 1639, recommended “reading” the composition through the responses of the Israelites to their salvation, as revealed by gestures and facial expressions. The story appears in Exodus ch.20.
Prior to its acquisition by Louis XIV, the canvas belonged to Nicolas Fouquet, who was arrested and imprisoned for allegedly mishandling royal funds shortly after the king assumed sole power early in 1661. Confiscations ensued, notably of Fouquet’s lavish, recently-completed chateau at Vaux-le-Vicomte (see now introductory comments to Levey gift, cat.39-82).
NGV 1894, p.110 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.58); NGV 1905, p.125 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.47)
See https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/38165/ (not reproduced; as by an unknown engraver after Poussin). Cf.Suite et arrangement (1727), p.1, and Duplessis Cabinet du roi (1869), p.7; and for another impression, see http://princeton.edu/~volkers/Versailles/Tableaux/Tableaux.html (with reproduction).
For the painting, see Louvre cat.IV (1986), p.142, Inv.7275 and the standard Poussin references. For Poussin’s letter to Chantelou, see R.W.Lee, Ut Pictura Poesis: the Humanistic Theory of Painting , New York; Norton, 1967, pp. 29-30