« PreviousContinue »
9 feet by 11, for 600 florins. Other pictures are enumerated with the same accuracy: a Leda with the Swan, attended by a Cupid; a life-size Christ on the Cross, of which the artist says, that it was "perhaps the best picture he had ever painted”; a smaller replica of the Palatine Last Judgment, -
In the Pinakothek at Munich.
the work of a pupil which, however, might pose as an original if the master were to touch
a St. Peter with other fishermen taking the Tribute-money from the Fish's mouth, painted from life; a replica of the Lion Hunt, painted for the Duke of Bavaria, — begun by a pupil, but repainted entirely by the master, -- and another copy, — treated in the same way- of the Christ and His Apostles, owned by the Duke of Lerma; an
Achilles disguised as a Woman, an impressive picture with many beautiful young female figures; a St. Sebastian and a Susanna.
Carleton then wrote to Rubens that he had selected six pictures. And further invited the painter to visit him at the Hague, to inspect his antique marbles, which formed a collection such as no prince nor private individual possessed on this side of the Alps. “But”, he continued, “for people in my position who are always on the move, objects of so much weight are not convenient, and moreover - to be frank — we all have human weaknesses — we sometimes change our tastes –, and so my fancy has suddenly taken another turn and has gone over from the sculptors to the painters:
Fig. 48. THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SMITES THE Hosts of SENNACHERIB.
Pen and ink drawing in the Albertina at Vienna. After a photograph from the original by Braun, Clément & Co., Dornach, Paris and New-York. (To page 68.)
especially to Mr. Rubens.” Owing to the construction of his Dutch as well as of his English residences, Carleton after all could only take Rubens' smaller pictures, and there therefore remained after the valuation a cashdifference between the parties. It was however mutually arranged that Rubens should pay in addition 4000 florins for the antique works and 2000 forins worth of Brussel tapestry. Carleton was particularly anxious that the artist himself should chose the latter, wich were to be adorned with representations of figures, for him. Rubens mentions in the letter, in which he consents to this proposition that he had that year spent several thousand florins on his house and that consequently would have much preferred to pay entirely with pictures; "since everyone is more liberal with the fruit of his garden, than with the fruit which he has to buy in the market". In the same connection he uses the words: "I am not a prince; but a man, who lives by the labour of his own hands." In his answer, the polite courtier referred to the above sentence in the following words: “I cannot agree with your statement, that you are not a prince; for I consider you to be the
Fig. 49. THE CONVERSION OF St. Paul. In the Pinakothek at Munich. After a photograph from the original by Franz Hanfstäng), Munich. (To page 68.)
prince of artists, and of people of noble sentiment. And in this sense I kiss your hand." To a man like Rubens this was surely not mere flattery.
Another circumstance worth mentioning, since it is so characteristic of the artist, we also learn from this correspondence with Sir Dudley Carleton; namely that Rubens was most anxious to satisfy the buyer by giving him the choice of a great variety of subjects. Eventually they both seem to have been exceedingly pleased with the transaction. Carleton was delighted with the pictures he acquired and Rubens was more than happy with the antique marbles he received in exchange.
After a photograph from the original by Franz Hanfstängl. Munich. (To page 70.)
Fig. 50. THE BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS. In the Pinakothek at Munich.
We may see from the above list, that Rubens giving rein to his creative powers, not only accomplished works at his own pleasure on the most varied subjects, but was at the same time also continually occupied with the delineation of sacred subjects. Moreover he allowed his pupils to copy his earlier works, since he was sure that to find numerous purchasers for them. The famous picture in the Antwerp Museum known under the name of Le Christ sur la Paille, which has the special merit of being painted entirely by himself, is one of the religious pictures executed by him at that time. The centre-piece represents a so-called Pietà. The Dead Body of Christ supported by Joseph of Aremathea reposes on a bench covered with straw (hence the name). Mary Magdalen folding her hands gazes in deep emotion at the Saviour, whilst the Holy Mother raising the pall, with which she is
HEAD OF A CHILD. (Nicholas Rubens as a child.) Drawing in the Albertina at Vienna.
(To page 70.)
about to cover her beloved Son, her beautiful face expressing the deepest grief looks up to heaven. On one of the wings is represented the Virgin and Child; on the other St. John, his eyes raised heavenwards in deep devotion. A fine drawing for the centre-portion is in the Albertina at Vienna (Fig. 45). Another painting belonging to this period or perhaps even somewhat earlier, is the Assumption of the Virgin, originally painted for the church of the Barefooted Friars (Carmelites), but now in the Museum at Brussels, a work also completed entirely by himself.