The Drawings of Peter Paul Rubens
A Critical Catalogue – Volume One (1590–1608)
By Anne-Marie Logan & Kristin Lohse Belkin
2 vol., 536 p., 260 col. ills, 216 x 280 mm, 2021, ISBN 978-2-503-59570-2
Hardback: € 175 excl. VAT
This is Volume I of the three-volume catalogue raisonné of all drawings considered by the authors to be by Rubens. It covers the years 1590–1608, Volumes II and III dealing, respectively, with the periods 1609–20 and 1621–40.
It is the first publication that presents the artist’s entire drawn oeuvre in chronological order, previous such publications containing only selections of drawings. By leafing through the illustrations, this arrangement provides the user with a quick visual impression of the variety of techniques, media, subject and functions of Rubens’s drawings at any one time.
Volume I consists of the drawings of the artist’s childhood, apprenticeship and first years as a master in Antwerp to his formative years in Italy, spent mostly in Mantua and Rome, with an excursion to Spain. These are the years primarily devoted to learning and absorbing the art of the past, from sixteenth-century German and Netherlandish prints to the works of the ancient and Italian Renaissance masters. A large number of these drawings consists of copies after the works of other artists, largely executed as part of the artistic training at the time.
For the first time, Rubens’s copies and their models are not discussed and illustrated as a separate entity but are fully integrated into the rest of his graphic oeuvre, thus showing copies and original compositions created at the same time side by side. The volume contains 204 entries, including several sheets with drawings on recto and verso. Each entry consists of a detailed physical description of the drawing, provenance, exhibition history, full bibliography and a critical, interpretive discussion. In addition, Volume I contains an essay on the history of the scholarship of Rubens’s drawings, a subject that has not been treated before. All drawings by Rubens and the works by other artists he copied as well as a selection of other comparative images are reproduced in color.
Anne-Marie Logan is a specialist in Rubens’s drawings and in those of his Flemish contemporaries, especially Van Dyck’s.
Kristin Lohse Belkin is a Rubens specialist who has carried out extensive research on the artist.