Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640) Workshop / circle
Crucifixion of Christ with Saint Mary Magdalene
Oil painting on canvas
112 x 62 cm. - In antique frame 126 x 73 cm.
The proposed painting, a work of excellent pictorial quality, depicting the Crucifixion of Christ with the Magdalene, is ascribed to an author of the flourishing workshop or circle of Peter Paul Rubens. As will be illustrated below, there are few doubts about this attribution, both for the material of the pigments used, and for the presence of the clear and unmistakable gestures of the master, pillar of Flemish Baroque painting, grandiose and triumphal in the overall composition.
The painting is iconographically inspired by an invention that Peter Paul Ruben made in 1635, in his first maturity, for the main altar of the Capuchin church in Antwerp (193 x 296 cm.), Then brought by the French to the Louvre in 1794 and finally sold in 1802 to the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, where it still stands today (link)
In our case, the author concentrated the composition on the agony of Christ crucified and on the passionate and full of devotion pain of Mary Magdalene, kneeling as she embraces the cross. The observer is enveloped by a feeling of great intensity, observing the two characters are alone, immersed in a silence in which the painful dimension is sublimated by the dramatic atmosphere full of phatos, almost apocalyptic, caused by the death of Christ.
The theatricality of the scene, like the Rubensian prototype, is supported by the vivid, intense and brilliant colors, as well as by the strength of the light strokes that pierce the darkness of the background. The night landscape, rendered with great skill, leads back to other works by the Flemish painter, it also contributes to creating an unreal and evocative atmosphere, underlined by penetrating and mysterious interpretative tensions.
The author's choice of presenting Christ as a triumphant and heroic figure contributes to arousing admiration for this extraordinary image while, raising his eyes to the sky, he exhibits a muscular, young and robust body, derived from classical models and brilliantly illuminated; this edifying vision of the last moments of his life intends to underline his divinity and shows the faithful that his sacrifice is the way to their salvation.
From a technical point of view we are led to consider our work as an interesting work of his workshop or of his closest circle, presumably performed by the workers to satisfy the numerous requests for this subject, admired in the great cathedral of Antwerp. Following his return from Italy in 1608 and the great fame he achieved, Pieter Paul Rubens in fact founded one of the most flourishing workshops in Europe, organized with criteria of small industry, where he used a large number of collaborators and students.
With regard to our painting, several preparatory drawings have been found (a part now kept at the Albertina in Vienna), evidence that numerous variants were already present after the prototype was made. Moreover, it was typical of Rubens' workshop practice to preserve prototypes of works destined for important clients, in order to be able to make quick replicas in case of need.
A composition practically identical to ours, also from Rubens' atelier, is the one kept in Monpellier, at the Musée Fabre.
The work is in excellent condition and is completed by a beautiful antique carved and gilded wooden frame.
Delevery information :
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19 500 €