Peter Paul Rubens, Landscape with stream overhung with trees, a drawing

Flanders, about AD 1637-40

This is a remarkable drawing both in its colouring and in the distinctive use of a reddish brown to emphasize the outline of the bark of the trees. The red-brown of the trunks is complemented by the vivid greens of the leaves of the trees and water plants. The landscape behind is much less detailed, the fields, hills and pale sky shown just as bands of watercolour.

Landscape became a major part of Rubens' work only in his later years, around 1637-40. This colourful drawing was probably made during this period. The combination of watercolour and bodycolour for a landscape sketch was unusual for Rubens but when compared with his chalk drawings and oil paintings, the attribution of this drawing seems reasonably certain.

By this stage of his life, Rubens was living in a country estate at Het Steen outside Malines (Mechelen) and enjoying the pleasurable life of a country gentleman. He was at the height of his career and admired throughout Europe.

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More information


J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

J. Rowlands, Rubens: drawings and sketches (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)

C. White, Peter Paul Rubens: man and art (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1987)

C. Brown, Making and meaning: Rubenss la (National Gallery, London, 1996)


Height: 35.000 mm
Width: 95.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1859-8-6-60



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