The Garden of Love (left portion)

Artist: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)

Artist: Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)

Date: ca. 1633–35

Medium: Pen, brown ink, gray-green wash over traces of black chalk, touched with indigo, green, yellowish, and white paint on paper

Dimensions: 18 1/4 x 27 3/4 in. (46.3 x 70.5 cm) (including added strips at left and right)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1958

Accession Number: 58.96.1


Rubens supervised the engravers who reproduced his paintings throughout his career. Only in the early 1630s did he turn to woodcuts, in close collaboration with Christoffel Jegher. These monumental drawings are models based on a composition also known from Rubens’s painting in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. They were made for Jegher’s woodcuts, which reproduce them in reverse. The initial design in black chalk is by Rubens, while most of the rest of the drawing can be attributed to a workshop assistant. The drawings essentially transform the composition into a frieze, most notably by dividing it into two separate parts, pushing the figures to the foreground and cropping the architecture at the top. This frieze-like adaptation gives the figural groups a wonderful immediacy.