This canvas seems to have been painted as a pair to the Landscape with a Man washing his Feet at a Fountain (or A Greek Road) now in the National Gallery, London. Together, the pictures illustrate the contrasting effects on landscape of the Roman and Greek civilisations.

X-ray examinations show that the canvas was first used for a partial copy of Poussin’s Moses trampling Pharaoh's Crown, now in the Louvre.


  • Title: A Roman Road
  • Date: 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w997 x h790 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: Identified by Blunt as the landscape with 'un grand chemin' which, according to Félibien, Poussin painted in 1648. However, DPG2O3 is more probably a copy of a lost original by Poussin, as suggested by Thuillier and Mahon (note on file, 1983). The X-ray shows that the canvas was first used for a partial copy of 'Moses trampling Pharaoh's Crown' in the Louvre. Poussin's original seems to have been painted as a pair to the 'Landscape with a Man washing his Feet at a Fountain' (or 'A Greek Road') in the National Gallery, London, the pictures together illustrating the contrasting effects on landscape of Roman and Greek civilisation (see Cropper and Dempsey, pp.284-8).Three other known copies of the lost original recorded by Blunt. Engraving by E. Baudent, in or before 1684. The 1802 Christie's sale picture might alternatively be DPG101.Murray suggests that this picture may be that on sale at London, Skinner and Dyke, Desenfans sale, 17 Mar. 1802, lot 109 (Descriptive Catalogue No. 55: 'A Landscape [with Cattle] and Figures [Felibien speaking of this picture, informs us that it was painted in 1648 ... and that it was in the collection of Chevalier de Lorraine]') but this seems unlikely as no cattle are visible.OR POSSIBLY:Catalogue No. Br-209Last Modified 27 December 2000Lot Sale Date 1803/07/09Sale Begin Date 1803/07/09Lugt Number 6666
  • Work Nationality: French
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: ?William Beckford; ?his sale, London, Christie's, 27 Feb. 1802, lot 25 ('A Landscape, a grand scene with Figures'). Bt Bourgeois for £22.1; London, Noel Desenfans and /or Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1802-1807; London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1807-1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: "This landscape has been identified as Poussin's canvas of 1648, recorded by André Félibien (1685) in the collection of Philippe de Lorraine in Paris. Félibien described the picture as 'a landscape where there is a broad road. This 'broad road' divides the scene in half, and a series of small figures - both male and female - travel along it. Two are resting in the right foreground, while a man on the left seems to be picking up an orange that has just fallen from the tree above. In the background, a small town is likely to be destination of the travellers. Even though the structure to the right is clearly based on a medieval ecclesiastical building, the figures' costumes and the column at the end of the road suggest that the scene is set in classical antiquity. Unless the painting was meant to have a specific, and now misinterpreted, meaning, it is most likely an idealized representation of a landscape from Roman antiquity. The work has long been believed to be the pendant to the 'Landscape with a Man Washing his Feet at a Fountain', also known as the 'Greek Road', in the National Gallery, London. Both were presented as a set for the first time in two engravings by Étienne Baudet in 1684. Since then art historians have discussed the meaning of the two canvases together. The paintings have been seen as representations of untamed and wild nature (National Gallery) contrasted with cultivated and civilized countryside (Dulwich); they have also been identified the canvases as 'the very earliest examples of an attempt to distinguish and contrast the appearances of Greek and Roman civilizations.'"
  • After: Poussin, Nicolas
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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