Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, with Saints
1632 - 1635
87 cm x 125 cm
On display
Colección Real (Real Alcázar [?], Madrid, Galeria del Mediodia, 1686, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Pinturas colgadas en el mismo quarto bajo en el Obrador de los Pintores de Camara, 1701-1703, nº 574; Real Alcázar, Pinturas que se llevaron a la casa donde vivio el Marqués de Bedmar, 1734, nº914; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, Pinturas entregadas en dhas. Casas Arzobispales a Dn. Santiago de Bonabia, 1747, nº 914; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, Antecámara de la Serenísima Infanta, 1772, nº 440; Palacio Nuevo, pieza de vestir [2ª], 1794, nº 240; Palacio Nuevo, primer gabinete entrando por la pieza de vestir, 1814-1818, nº 240; Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Salon 1º Escuela Holandesa, 1834, nº271)

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 Hélène Fourment, the painter's second wife. Her pose is quite similar to the one in The Garden of Love (P01690). On the right, some angels play with a lamb, symbolizing the sacrifice of Christ, while another angel hushes them in the presence of the Christ Child.

The idyllic sense of the scene and its setting in a garden space relates the work to the artist's mature phase. The use of Italian architecture and the affected poses of some of the figures are also characteristic of that last period.

This is probably the painting that appears in the collection of the Marquis of El Carpio in 1688 and later passed to Carlos II. It has been listed in the Royal Collection since 1700.

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