- Reference number
- Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish)
- Immaculate Conception
- 198 cm x 135 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection
Wearing a red tunic, blue robes and a crown of stars, the Virgin treads on a serpent carrying the apple of Sin, in keeping with the customary iconography for this Catholic image. By placing Mary over a globe, Rubens made one of his most striking images of the Immaculate Conception. The tweo angesl carrying a palm and a laurel-leaf crown are a classic reference to Mary's triumph. References to Classical culture were customary in Rubens, and are strengthened here by the choice of a model based on sculptures of Antiquity.
This work was made in 1628, when Rubens was in Spain. It reflects the characteristics of his mature style, combining the Baroque dynamism of the figures with the ideal of beauty reflected in the Virgin's face.
It was painted for the Marquis of Leganés, who gave it to Felipe IV. The latter sent it to the Monastery of El Escorial, where it was long thought to be by Erasmus Quellinus. From there, it entered the Prado Museum in 1837.