Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)
Black chalk, oil- and water-based paints
16 5/8 x 22 9/16 in. (42.2 x 57.3 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 2000
Not on view
This sheet, a relatively recent addition to Rubens's drawn oeuvre, is exceptional in several ways. Even if it seems to have been slightly cropped (especially at the left and the top), it remains one of the artist's largest works on paper. Its technique is much richer than that of most of his other drawings, combining chalk and paints, and gives the work the appearance of an oil sketch. The subject matter may be considered unique for Rubens. In a simple village church, a Catholic priest can be seen preaching to farmers and peasants—men on the left and women on the right—who listen with varying degrees of attentiveness. Obviously observed from nature, the scene can be connected only with the landscapes and studies related to farm life that he made at the end of his career, when he spent much of his time on the estate near Malines that he acquired in 1635. Rubens's composition (if not the vivacity and freshness of the drawing) has been repeated by other artists in a few painted copies. There is, however, no indication that Rubens himself made the drawing for any other reason than to record a moment he had witnessed and thought worthy of his talents.
Inscription: Mount, lower right, in graphite: 2000.483 RUBENS
Marking: Watermark with crowned shield and countermark with three letters-perhaps arms of Burgundy with Austria.
Pierre Crozat (French, Toulouse 1665–1740 Paris); his sale, Paris, 1741, lot 856, Count Carl-Gustav Tessin; Louisa Ulrica, Queen of Sweden; Princess Sophia Albertina; Count Stenbock; Count Nils Barck (1820–1896); Alph. Wyatt Thibaudeau (ca. 1840–ca. 1892), 1857; Sir John Charles Robinson (British, 1824–1913); Hans M. Calmann; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," February 26, 2001–May 21, 2001.
Graphische Sammlung Albertina. "Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640," September 14, 2004–December 5, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640," January 14, 2005–April 3, 2005.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.
Max Rooses L'Oeuvre de P. P. Rubens. vols. I-V, Antwerp, 1890, Vol.V, no. 1441.
Julius S. Held Rubens: Selected Drawings. London, 1959, cat. no. 181, fig. no. 177, p. 140, ill.
John Rowlands Rubens Drawings and Sketches Catalogue of an exhibition in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 1977. London, British Museum, 1977, Not illustrated., cat. no. 203, p. 153.
"Review of Rowlands, Rubens Drawings and Sketches." Kunstchronik. vol. 31, 1978, p. 136.
"Review of Held, Rubens Selected Drawings." in Master Drawings. vol. 25, 1987, Discusses the drawing as "attributed to Rubens.", pp. 75-76.
Carmen C. Bambach, Elizabeth E. Barker, Colta Ives, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein, Gary Tinterow "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2000-2001." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 59, no. 2, Autumn 2001, p. 30, ill.
Anne Marie Logan, Michiel C. Plomp, Dr. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Heinz Widauer Peter Paul Rubens. Exh. cat., Albertina, Vienna, Sept. 15 - Dec. 5, 2004 (also see New York, 2005). Dr. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Heinz Widauer, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, 2004, p. 112, cat. no. 132, pp. 490-492, ill.
Anne Marie Logan, Michiel C. Plomp Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings. Exh. cat.: January 15 - April 3, 2005; also Albertina, Vienna, 2004. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005, pp. 56, 288, cat. no. 107, pp. 290-291, ill.