This sketch is an initial study for the left-hand panel of the Deposition triptych which still hangs in Antwerp Cathedral today. The altar was commissioned by the Guild of Harquebusiers, whose captain was Nicolaas Rockox. As the Counter-Reformation only permitted depictions of Christ or scenes from the New Testament on the central panel of altarpieces, St Christopher,
the patron saint of this Antwerp guild, is portrayed on
the reverse of the left-hand panel.
The Visitation, depicting the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, both with child, is to be seen on the inner side of the same panel.
Comparison with this oil sketch reveals distinct changes.
Around 1609 Rubens began to make preparatory modelli which gave the patron who had commissioned the work an idea of the artist’s composition in a small format.
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Peter Paul Rubens
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Oil on wood
height 50 cm, width 26 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Straßburg,, Inv.-No. 198
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
Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun, 1621/1625
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
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Samson and Delilah. A Rubens painting returns
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