In 1599 Isabella Clara Eugenia, daughter of King Philip II, and Archduke Albert of Austria made their ceremonial entry into Antwerp as governors of the Spanish Netherlands. Albert is regarded as the driving force behind the negotiations resulting in the twelve-year-truce (1609–21) with the rebel northern provinces of the Netherlands. These negotiations took place in the assembly chamber of Antwerp city hall for which the burgomaster Nicolaas Rockox had commissioned a painting of the "Adoration of the Magi" from Rubens. The oil sketch displayed here served as an exact basis for the execution of the large-scale painting apart from minor changes in some of the details.
Having only recently returned to Antwerp from his sojourn in Italy (1600–08), Rubens’s impressions from his travels were still fresh: the crouching figure on the right-hand side of the painting recalls the Belvedere Torso and is echoed in the central figure of Rubens’s "Samson and Delilah".
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Peter Paul Rubens
Adoration of the Magi, 1609/1610
Oil on wood
height 81 cm, width 102 cm
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Inv.-No. 1931.0121
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 (?)
The Visitation, 1611/1612
Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1615
Samson and Delilah, c. 1610
Related themes
Samson and Delilah. A Rubens painting returns
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