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Exaltation Of The Cross

Painting, 1610, 68×107 cm

Description of the artwork «Exaltation Of The Cross»

At the end of 1608 Rubens returned from Italy to Antwerp, where in his youth he studied painting. In the way the artist received the sad news of the death of his mother, which greatly influenced his state of mind: about two months he spent in voluntary confinement in the monastery. Some time Rubens hesitated when deciding whether to have him here, in Antwerp, or is it better to return to Rome, where he received a very tempting for a painter offers.

Brother Peter, Philip, presented it to the Duke Albrecht, who was not slow to take advantage of this opportunity to order a new artist family portrait. The picture so impressed the Duke that he was built by Rubens to the court painter San with good salary. With this solution, Peter remained in Antwerp, and we had the opportunity to admire the Rubens painting "Exaltation of the cross", the description of which offer you to read.

The order for this painting the artist received from a local rich man and patron of the arts Cornelis van der Geeste, who wanted to present the picture as a gift to the Church of the Holy Walburga. The contract was signed in 1609, and the amount of compensation was 2 600 guilders. The picture of Rubens "elevation of the cross" was written about two years: according to one source, the artist completed the painting in 1610, other sources claim that the order was executed at the beginning of 1611.

Anyway, we have to admit: to cope with such a huge amount of work for such a short period could the true genius of painting. "Exaltation of the cross" by Rubens is not just a painting, but a triptych of rather enormous size. The height of the Central panel is 4.6 meters, width — 3.4 meters. The dimensions of each side panel — 4.6 x 1.5 meters. The canvas depicts 22 of the character, plus the animals and plants.

During your stay in Italy, Rubens wrote copies of antique works and works of the contemporary Italians, thus honing their skills. In the painting of Rubens "elevation of the cross" traces the influence of Italian masters of painting, as Tintoretto, Michelangelo, Caravaggio however , it cannot be called a copy is the work of a Mature artist with his own style.

The plot of paintings — the execution of Jesus, but if the predecessors of Rubens depicted in his canvases, the final moment of the crucifixion, by his contemporaries, the artist took the role of witnesses in the process. The center of the whole composition is a cross with a crucified Jesus on it. His hands uplifted to heaven as if in mute appeal, look in the sky looking for the answer to the question "why have You forsaken Me?". Nine executioners are struggling to raise the cross: muscles are swollen, tense face, and it seems that all their efforts are in vain, that this human wave can't cope with the power of the crucified, but not broken Jesus.

On the left part of the triptych, the audience sees the people who came to carry out Christ. Women and children terror watch: they can't interfere, because on the opposite side are the Romans, soldiers and horsemen are preparing to execute two other criminals. The whole scene is brightly lit, despite the fact that in the upper part of the picture barely visible in the dim ball of the sun, covered with clouds of lead.

The picture of Rubens "elevation of the cross" is a work full of deep philosophical meaning. It makes the viewer think about what a huge sacrifice was brought by Jesus in the name of atonement of sins of each person. Today, this triptych adorns the altar wall of the Antwerp Cathedral, next to other works of the great artist.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Plywood

Date of creation: 1610

Size: 68×107 cm

Artwork in selections: 5 selections