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Tereus' Banquet
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Tereus' Banquet
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Tereus, King of Thrace and wife of Procne, raped his sister-in-law, Philomela, cutting out her tongue in order to avoid being denounced. But when Philomela weaves a tapestry, her sister Procne discovers the atrocious event. In vengeance, she kills Tereus´ son, serving it to him in a macabre banquet. The story is based on Ovid´s Metamorphoses (Book VI). Rubens chose to depict the exact moment when,

Mercury
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
Mercury
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

Mercury, the son of Jupiter and Maya, bears his characteristic attributes as the gods´ messenger: a winged hat and shoes, as well as the caduceus, a hazel wand with two serpents wound around it, which Apollo gave him as a symbol of agreement and reconciliation. The god´s anatomy and the use of paint give this figure a sculptural appearance, showing Rubens capacity to depict on canvas some of the m

Mercury and Argus
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Mercury and Argus
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

According to Ovid (Metamorphosis, book V), in order to avoid her husband Jupiter´s infidelities, the goddess, Juno, converted the nymph, Io, into a lamb and called on Argos, the shepherd, to look after her. Jupiter sent Mercury, the gods´ messenger, to kill Argos and recover the nymph. Rubens depicts Mercury without his traditional attributes. He only carries his sword and the flute with which he

Saturn devouring a Son
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saturn devouring a Son
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul

Portrayed as an old man in accordance with the conventional method that was faithful to prevailing iconographic precepts, in his right hand the god Saturn clasps a scythe, his inveterate attribute, using it to steady himself. At the same time, with impressive bestial energy, he leans over a boy, into whom he sinks his teeth to devour him, while the defenceless creature attempts to kick himself fre

Atalanta and Meleager hunting the Calydonian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Rubens, Peter Paul
Atalanta and Meleager hunting the Calydonian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Rubens, Peter Paul

As Ovid tells in his Metamorphosis (book VIII, 260-444), the goddess Diana sent a giant wild boar to ravage the kingdom of Calydon. The king´s son, Meleager, and his beloved Atalanta organize a hunt with the help of their cousins, Castor and Pollux. Rubens depicts this passage, distributing the figures in the foreground near the bottom of the composition in order to direct the viewer´s gaze toward

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with Saints
Oil on panel. 1632 - 1635
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt with Saints
Oil on panel. 1632 - 1635
Rubens, Peter Paul

Rubens combines various subjects in this work. The figure of Saint Joseph sleeping in a landscape alongside a grazing donkey, and the Virgin Mary sitting on a boulder with her son refer to the rest on the Flight from Egypt, but the artist also added various images of saints to the left of the main group. These include Saint George and the dragon, and Saint Catherine, whose factions are those of H&

Heraclitus, the Crying Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
Heraclitus, the Crying Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (540-470 B.C.), wears a black tunic and leans on a stone, weeping. He embodies the idea of a tragic sense of life, thinking about the future form a lonely and pessimistic point of view. This work was made for the Torre de la Parada, a small royal palace near Madrid, and contrasts with the thinking of Democritus (P01682), with which it was paired.

Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria at the Battle of Nördlingen
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Rubens, Peter Paul
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria at the Battle of Nördlingen
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Rubens, Peter Paul

The Cardinal-Infante is depicted in full body armor, with a black hat, a staff and a red sash. He is portrayed as a general of the Spanish Armies during the Battle of Nördlingen when, in 1634, they took on the Protestant army. Near him, the allegory of fury and the eagle and lightening bolts of Jupiter allude to his dashing force. A battle scene occupies the background. Rubens painted this wo

The Rape of Hippodamia
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
The Rape of Hippodamia
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Like Fortuna (P1674) and the Marriage of Peleus and Thetis (P1634), the Rape of Hippodamia was part of the massive cycle of mythologies designed by Peter Paul Rubens in 1636-37 for the Torre de la Parada, Philip IV´s newly constructed hunting lodge on the outskirts of Madrid. The oil sketch for this picture, now in Brussels (Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique), was largely replicated in the

Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
Democritus, the Laughing Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

Democritus of Abdera (460-370 B.C.) is the pictorial pendant of Heraclitus (P01680) as well as his philosophical counterpoint. Wearing bright colors, he laughs sarcastically while contemplating a globe of the Earth, alluding to his concept of the comic meaning of life. During the Modern Age, this was interpreted on the basis of Christian precepts as a message alluding to the vanity of earthly life

The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

This canvas depicts the death of the Roman philosopher Seneca, who was accused of treason and obliged by Nero to commit suicide in the year 65AD. It emphasises the values of Stoicism, an influential current of thought in early seventeenth-century Europe. The painting is a replica produced in Rubens’s studio of a work painted entirely by him now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munic

The Christ Child, Saint John and the Lamb
Oil on panel. 1618 - 1620
Rubens, Peter Paul; Dyck, Anthony Van
The Christ Child, Saint John and the Lamb
Oil on panel. 1618 - 1620
Rubens, Peter Paul; Dyck, Anthony Van

Saint John is depicted with his customary symbols, a cross with a ribbon bearing the motto “Lamb of God”. Indeed, there is a lamb beside him, which the Christ Child tenderly pets. The fountain on the right is a double allusion to the Baptism of Christ and to his condition as the “fountain of life”. The close human and everyday vision of the two boys belongs to a tradition posterior to the Catholic

Act of Devotion by Rudolf I of Habsburg
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1625
Rubens, Peter Paul; Wildens, Jan
Act of Devotion by Rudolf I of Habsburg
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1625
Rubens, Peter Paul; Wildens, Jan

This work depicts an episode from the life of Rodolfo I (1218-1291), founder of the Hapsburg Dynasty. While hunting with his page, Regulo de Kyburg, Rodolfo met a priest and a sexton who were taking the eucharist to a dying man but found their way blocked by a swift-flowing river. In order to help them cross the river, and as a demonstration of their respect for the Holy Sacraments, Rodolfo and hi

Saint George and the Dragon
Oil on canvas. 1606 - 1608
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saint George and the Dragon
Oil on canvas. 1606 - 1608
Rubens, Peter Paul

According to Jacopo de la Voragine´s Golden Legend, Saint George slew the dragon that was terrorizing the people of Silene, saving a princess in peril. In this painting, the Christian hero rides a lively white stallion and brandishes his sword against the monster, which attempts to free itself of the lance stuck in its jaws. Behind them, next to a lamb, the princess looks on. This work was made in

Vulcan forging the Thunderbolts of Jupiter
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul
Vulcan forging the Thunderbolts of Jupiter
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul

Peter Paul Rubens executed this painting between 1636 and 1637 on a commission from Philip IV for the Torre de la Parada. The decoration of this royal hunting pavilion, in which other artists such as Diego Velázquez participated, was the most important commission Rubens received from the Spanish monarch. Beginning in 1636, he sent more than 60 works from Antwerp to Madrid for the royal plea

Archduke Alberto de Austria
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul; Brueghel The Elder, Jan (Jan 'velvet' Brueghel)
Archduke Alberto de Austria
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul; Brueghel The Elder, Jan (Jan 'velvet' Brueghel)

Alberto de Austria, the sovereign prince of the Low Countries, is dressed in black and sits under a canopy indicating that this is a court portrait. Unlike the customary indoor portraits, this one is set on a balcony open to a landscape that includes Tervuren Palace, near Brussels. This portrait, and that of his wife, Isabel Clara (P01684), seeks not only to bring out the figure of the Archduke, b

Marie de Medici, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul
Marie de Medici, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul

Dressed completely in black, with a widow´s headdress and simple jewelry, Marie de Medici is portrayed as the Queen Mother, after having governed France as a Reagent from 1610 to 1617. As one of Rubens´s most outstanding patrons, the queen commissioned him to decorate her Luxemburg Palace in Paris with a series of works that glorified her figure and that of her husband, Henri IV. Rubens began the

The Holy Family surrounded by Saints
Oil on panel. Ca. 1630
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Holy Family surrounded by Saints
Oil on panel. Ca. 1630
Rubens, Peter Paul

The Virgin sits with the Christ Child in the midst of grandiose classical architecture. She is surrounded by numerous saints in various positions. Above her, some angels prepare to crown her as Queen of Heaven. This work was sometimes thought to be a representation of The Mystical Betrothal of Saint Catherine, because of the strong presence of that saint, who is depicted kneeling before the Christ

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