The oil sketch entitled Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, executed between 1621 and 1625, shows a light, airy composition set in the firmament. Surrounded by the Hours in the shape of putti holding hands, the chariot of the sun-god Apollo, drawn by four stallions, soars into the heavens. Surrounded by a nimbus of radiating beams of light, the sun-god stands upright in his chariot while a cloth of majestic red flutters round his hips. He seems barely able to restrain his charging steeds. The pose of his athletic body recalls the Belvedere Torso, which Rubens had studied and made drawings of during his stay in Italy between 1600 and 1608. Driven away by Apollo's soaring stallions, the genii of darkness and the chariot of Diana, here in her role as goddess of the night, are put to flight. The composition probably derives from a sketch by Primaticcio, today preserved in the Louvre, which may have been intended for a ceiling painting in Fontainebleau.
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Peter Paul Rubens
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
Oil on panel
height 55 cm, width 93 cm
Inv.-No. GE109
Provenance: presumably acquired by Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein before 1712; identified for the first time as a fideicommissum by the seal of 1733
Further works on display
Decius Mus relating his dream, 1616/1617
Decius Mus preparing for Death, 1616/1617
The Death of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Dismissal of the Lictors, 1616/1617
The Interpretation of the Victim, 1616/1617
The Trophy, 1616/1617
The Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1637
Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615
Oil sketch of Mars and Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
Mars und Rhea Silvia, c. 1616/1617
The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, c. 1616
Satyr and Maid with Fruit Basket, 1615
The Lamentation, c. 1612
Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death, 1615/1622
Double Portrait of Albert and Nikolaus Rubens, c. 1626/1627
Portrait of Jan Vermoelen, 1616
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, c. 1616
Henry IV seizes the Opportunity to conclude Piece, 1628
The Victory of Henry IV at Coutras, 1628
The Consecration of Decius Mus, 1616/1617
The Obsequies of Decius Mus
Three Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Joachim, 1615/1620
St. Catherine in the Clouds, 1620/1621
Four Music-Making Angels, on the reverse side of St Anne, 1615/1620
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1601/1602
Perseus and Andromeda
The Virgin adorned with flowers, 1609/1610
Psyche taken up into Olympus, 1621
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cows, 1616
Allegory of war, 1628
The Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, 1628 (?)
The Assumption of the Virgin, modello, 1637
Ganymede, 1611/1612
Diana´s Hunt, 1628
St. Francis of Assisi before the Crucified Christ, 1625
Portrait of a Monk (?)
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Rubens in Wien
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