Key to the Sacred Pattern

19 December 2011

Does Poussin's Ideal Landscape Painting Hold A Templar "Easter Egg"?

A number of years ago I was lucky enough to catch the Louvre exhibit at Atlanta's High Museum of Art.   The High had imported an number of pieces from the Louvre and the centerpiece, for myself, was Poussin's Shepherds of Arcadia painting. (For more about that visit click here) The exhibit also included a number of other paintings by Poussin that I was familiar with, but were not seemingly connected with any of the esoterica that  Shepherds of Arcadia had been linked. One of the "secondary" works of Poussin caught my attention that day and for the last few years my observations has been in the "I really should write about..." file.
Poussin's Ideal Landscape (click image to enlarge)

Known as Ideal Landscape, this Poussin circa 1650 painting has virtually escaped the scrutiny of those interested in connecting Poussin to the Rennes-le-Chateau mysteries. On the surface, Ideal Landscape appears to be little more than just that. (If the image that appears here is too small to pick out fine details of this painting, a larger image may be found at this link.) The focal points of the central village and the lonely mountain almost draw one's eye away from the understated activity going on in the painting. At the bottom center, Poussin has included what appears to be two shepherd-like travelers asking directions from a supine figure. Up and to the right of that, are figures watering horses that reinforce the notion that the central village is some sort of way-point. Smaller still are the figures walking towards the buildings on the rise above the stream/river. Once again, there are hints of motion in the minutia of Poussin's work.

There's one of these nearly imperceptible figures that caught my attention when viewing the original.  Slightly above the heads of the two shepherd-like travelers asking for directions is a horse with two riders. The two riders on a single horse is of course reminiscent of the seal of the Knights Templar. The symbol was used to exemplify the vow of poverty that each Templar Knight took. The symbol also evokes the notion of sacrifice for one's brother and therefore for the order. 

Two Riders on a Single Horse Highlighted (click image to enlarge)
Seal of the Knights Templar
The larger question is why did Poussin include two riders on the same horse in this painting?  Is Ideal Landscape yet another Easter egg in the Gordian knot that Rennes-le-Chateau mysteries have become?  If Poussin did indeed mean for the riders to be a reference to the Templars, what purpose does that serve?  Could the sub-textual traveling theme in this painting give clues to a real geographic location that should be searched for?  I personally have little doubt that Poussin was either making a visual reference to the Templars, but what is the deeper message here? As in all things, I will leave that to your own thoughts.

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