« PreviousContinue »
male and female heads drawn from the antique, with studies for folded hands on the same sheat (Fig. 7). Side by side with these vigorous drawings, we should also mention the noble sketch of an old man with a beard, which probably served as a model for some holy bishop and well illustrates the method employed by the young Rubens in his studies from life (Fig. 8).
In 1603 he was sent to Spain by the Duke of Mantua. It seems that he considered the artist the fittest personage to deliver certain presents intended for King Philip III. and his minister the Duke of Lerma. The voyage was not favoured with fine weather, for it rained uncessantly for twenty days. Only a portion ot the gifts, which included a carriage with seven Neapolitan horses, could be delivered uninjured; whilst the other part with the pictures painted by Rubens for the Spanish court were entirely ruined through the rain. The proposal of the Mantuan Ambassador that the pictures should be restored with the assistance of some Spanish painter, was firmly rejected by Rubens who declared, "that he did not choose to be associated with any one else". The circumstance that the interview with the King was delayed, enabled him however not only with his own hands to restore his damaged pictures, but also to paint two new ones: — Heraclitus and Democritus, the Weeping and the Laughing Philosophers; which two pictures are still in the Madrid Gallery. After he had accomplished his mission to the King of Spain he was employed until the following autumn by the Duke of Lerma, of whom he painted an equestrian portrait, besides thirteen single figures: Christ and his Twelve Apostles. These last are also still in the Madrid Gallery, but the figure of Christ himself has disappeared. Later replicas of these thirteen pictures are to be found at the Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome, while a number of drawings for them are in the Albertina at Vienna (Fig. 9). The excellent portrait of a Franciscan priest, now in the Munich Pinakothek, is said also to have been painted in Spain (Fig. 10). At the beginning of 1604 Rubens returned to Mantua, where his chief work during that and the following year as the completion of a triptych for the Jesuit-Church. The centre-piece represented the Trinity, the two wings the Baptism and Transfiguration of Christ. At the taking of Mantua by the French in 1797 these three pictures were carried away; but the centreportion divided into two portions was subsequently brought back, and is now in the Public Library. The Transfiguration is in the Museum at Nancy, while the Baptism, much repainted, found its way in 1876 to the Gallery of Antwerp.
In the year 1605 the Emperor Rudolf II. commissioned Rubens to copy two pictures by Correggio. In 1606 he was again in Rome, where he began to paint an altar-piece for an Oratory just built, known as the new church (Chiesa Nuova). Before, however, he could finish it, he was recalled by the Duke of Mantua, in whose company in the following year he went to Genoa. Here he devoted special attention to the architecture of the town and, in order to improve the taste for building in his own country, conceived the idea, of making a collection of drawings of Genoese palace-architecture. This plan he subsequently carried out in conjunction with N. Rykemans; and a collection of etchings, including no less than 136 plates of the "Palazzi di Gcnova", appeared at Antwerp in two separate
Fig. 13. The Riveegod Tieee (oe Tigeis) With The Goddess Of Plentv. In the Hermitage at St. Petersburg. After a photograph from the original by Braun, Clement & Co., Dornach, Paris and New-York. (To page 22.)
parts in the years 1613 and 1622 respectively. For the Jesuit-church (St. Ambrogio) at Genoa he painted — it is uncertain when — two altarpieces: the Circumcision and St. Ignatius healing a Demoniac and restoring to life Dead Children. This latter, which is very large, is a splendid work. Whilst in Milan on his return from Genoa and also when on his way to Spain, Rubens made careful drawings from Leonardo's "Battle oj Anghiari" and from the celebrated Ccna, both of which are preserved in the Louvre. It is also probable that he painted in the same city, in order to rival Leonardo, the Lord's Supper which is now in the Brera Collection.