Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most important masters of the oil sketches in the history of European art: during his career he has completed almost 500 such preparatory work. 73 of them are now presented at the exhibition "Rubens. The artist sketching" in the Prado Museum in Madrid. The exhibits borrowed from leading institutions worldwide, including the Louvre, the State Hermitage Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.
The exhibition presents among others, five small sketches for the ceiling paintings in the Jesuit Church in Antwerp, borrowed Smolianski Museum in Oxford, Museum Boijmans — van Beuningen Museum, the National gallery in Prague and Gallery of old masters in Vienna. Finished paintings which were lost during a fire in 1718, was written by van Dyck and other apprentices of Rubens. To prepare this cycle, the artist made as a small monochrome sketches and more complex in color, as well as a number of drawings.
A series of Achilles from the collection of the Prado Museum is complemented by an oil sketch from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. This section ends with a picture of "Ulysses and Diomed reveal of Achilles", written in the workshop of Rubens and is a member of the Assembly of Madrid.
Six sketches from the series "Triumph of the Eucharist" was renovated in 2014. Rubens wrote them in 1620-ies for twenty tapestries by order of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, ruler of the Spanish Netherlands.
Of special interest are the preparatory work for the painting of the ceiling of the Banquet hall at Whitehall Palace in London. The subject is the celebration of the reign of James I. Sketches consist of nine scenes, chief among them – the Union of England and Scotland, the most important event of the reign of this king.
In 1636, Philip IV commissioned Rubens for the elderly already to create more than 60 of mythological scenes for the decoration of the hunting pavilion Torre de La Parada in Madrid's outskirts. The artist has made a small oil painting projects, but wrote only a few of the latest. The rest were assigned to other masters.
The Exhibition "Rubens. The artist sketching" in the Prado Museum will run until 5 August. And since September, will open at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.