The Massacre of an Innocent

The troubling topicality of Poussin’s painting

A few months ago — a lifetime ago — I went to the Musée Condé in Chantilly. From Raphael to Clouet, from Fra Angelico to Antoine Watteau, the museum is brimming with masterpieces. Yet, I was specifically going to see one of them: the Massacre des Innocents by Nicolas Poussin. 2020 has proven to be the year of the unexpected and indeed, I could not have expected for this painting to resonate so profoundly today. Painted around 1627 in Rome the painting has become bewilderingly current and it has been…