The Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry
Image 1 of 2
Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Triumph of the Eucharist over Idolatry
Ca. 1625
65 cm x 91 cm
On display
Royal Collection (Collection of the Marquis of El Carpio, 1677; acquisition of Carlos II, 1689; Casa de Campo, Madrid, “galería del jardín, pieza oscura que sale a la escalera y alcoba de su majestad”, 1701, n. 22, 23, 77; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza del oratorio”, 1794, n. 966; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de oratorio y dormitorio de príncipes-pieza quinta”, 1814-1818, n. 966)

This work is part of a set of cartoons (P01695-P01700) that Rubens painted for a series of seventeen tapestries that Isabel Clara Eugenia donated to the Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1628.

The set sought to emphasize the value of the Eucharist as the basis for the triumph of Catholicism, an idea linked to the strong current of the Counterreformation reigning in Flanders during the early decades of the seventeenth century. The tapestries were woven by masters in Brussels and were used in celebrations of Corpus Christi.

In these sketches, Rubens created scenes framed by powerful Baroque architecture with numerous wreathed columns. On occasions, he also used architectural models drawn from Giulio Romano, including ringed columns. This was his way of pursuing the idea of total artistic representation, combining architecture, painting and tapestry making. At the same time, he engaged in the quintessentially Baroque game of confusing reality and art.

The plots of these works concern religions concepts dominated by the triumph of some of the main values defended by the Church after the Council of Trent. The image of Isabel Clara Eugenia is exalted as a protector of Catholicism, as is clear in the use of her portrait for the image of Saint Claire, among the Fathers of the Church.

During the seventeenth century, these panels belonged to Luis de Haro. The entered the Royal Collection when his son, the Marquis of El Carpio, died.

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