Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)
Oil on wood
19 5/8 x 16 in. (49.8 x 40.6 cm)
Bequest of Scofield Thayer, 1982
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 630
Rubens made this oil sketch in preparation for a large canvas formerly in Berlin (destroyed in 1945). The final composition was proportionately taller, with God the Father moved closer to the Virgin, who seems to more strongly ascend. In earlier works by Rubens and in Coronations going back to the late Middle Ages, Christ’s role is even more dominant than here.
?[art dealer, in 1834]; [art dealer, England, in 1910]; [Mautner von Markhof, Vienna]; K. Moser, Vienna; his widow, Mrs. Hauska, Vienna; ?R. Wittig; [Kunstverlag Wolfrum, Vienna, until 1921; sold for $2,000 to Thayer]; Scofield Thayer, Worcester, Mass., later New York (1921–d. 1982; on loan to Worcester Art Museum, 1932–83)
Detroit Institute of Arts. "An Exhibition of Sixty Paintings and Some Drawings by Peter Paul Rubens," February 13–March 15, 1936, no. 53 (lent by a private collection, Worcester, Massachusetts).
Worcester Art Museum. "The Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting," February 23–March 12, 1939, no. 122 (lent anonymously).
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "The Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting," March 25–April 26, 1939, no. 122 (lent anonymously).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England," June 9–September 10, 1939, no. 118 (lent anonymously).
Brussels. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. "Rubens: A Genius at Work," September 14, 2007–January 27, 2008, no. 49.
John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 9, Supplement. London, 1842, p. 247, no. 16, calls it the original study for the canvas formerly in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, and states that it "was in the hands of a printseller for sale, 1834" for 50 guineas, probably this picture.
Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der Gemälde im Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum und Deutschen Museum. 9th ed. Berlin, 1931, p. 406, under no. 762, as in the Thayer collection, New York; gives earlier provenance information.
F[rancis]. H[enry]. T[aylor]. "Rubens' Sketch for the Coronation of the Virgin." Bulletin of the Worcester Art Museum 22 (January 1932), pp. 72–75, ill., describes it as a study for paintings in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, and the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels; cites Refs. Glück 1921 and Frimmel 1921.
A Guide to the Collections of the Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, Mass., 1933, p. 82, ill. p. 79.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. An Exhibition of Sixty Paintings and Some Drawings by Peter Paul Rubens. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1936, unpaginated, no. 53, dates it about 1630–33, and states that it is very likely the sketch that was in the Harris collection in 1835 and in the Van der Schrieck sale in Liège [sic for Louvain?] in 1861.
Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Cambridge, Mass., 1939, pp. 78–79, no. 118, pl. 67, states that it is not likely to be the picture in the Van der Schrieck sale of 1861, as suggested Frimmel [see Ref. 1921].
Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held. Rubens in America. New York, 1947, p. 34, no. 54, pl. 53, describe it as a study, dating from the early 1630s, for the painting in Berlin; at the suggestion of Cott, and contrary to the opinions of Frimmel [see Ref. 1921] and Taylor [see Ref. 1932], disagree with the Van der Schrieck provenance and state that it was probably not cut down.
Art through Fifty Centuries from the Collections of the Worcester Art Museum. Worcester, Mass., 1948, p. 59, fig. 79, as a study or sketch for the canvas in Berlin, painted between 1630 and 1633.
Erik Larsen. P. P. Rubens. Antwerp, 1952, p. 219, no. 97, dates it about 1632–34.
John Rupert Martin. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. part 1, The Ceiling Paintings for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp. London, 1968, p. 118, under no. 18.
Julius S. Held. The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens. Princeton, 1980, vol. 1, pp. 53, 517–18, no. 381; vol. 2, pl. 372, dates it about 1632–33.
Walter A. Liedtke. "Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum—I: Rubens." Tableau 6 (November/December 1983), pp. 85, 87–88 n. 29.
Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 192–94; vol. 2, pl. 74.
Walter Liedtke inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, p. 22, ill.
Michael Jaffé. Rubens: catalogo completo. Milan, 1989, p. 329, no. 1056, ill., dates it 1630–33.
Walter Liedtke. "Toward a New Edition of Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Munuscula Amicorum: Contributions on Rubens and His Colleagues in Honour of Hans Vlieghe. Ed. Katlijne van der Stighelen. Vol. 2, Turnhout, Belgium, 2006, p. 676.
Tine Meganck et al. inRubens: A Genius at Work. Exh. cat., Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels. Tielt, Belgium, 2007, pp. 169, 173–74, no. 49, ill. (color).
This is an oil sketch for a large canvas formerly in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin. The finished version, destroyed in 1945, was painted by Rubens with the help of workshop assistants, and was proportionately taller than the sketch, and therefore required some adjustment in composition. Held [see Ref. 1980] dates the sketch and the Berlin picture about 1632–33. Earlier authors date the Berlin canvas to about 1630, or to the early 1630s.