- Museum number
So-called bust of Seneca, study for an etching; almost to front, looking up, with curly beard and hair and drapery across his left shoulder
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, over black chalk, with lines indented for transfer
- Production date
Height: 125 millimetres
Width: 95 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the preparatory drawings for the etching in reverse by Vorsterman, for impressions see R,1a.310 and R,4.78. A copy of this drawing from Ludwig Burchard's and Jonathan Richardson's collections (black chalk, pen and brown ink; 132 by 100 mm) was sold at Christie's, New York, 26 January 2011, lot 276.
Literature: M. Van der Meulen, 'Corpus Rubenianum', XXI, 1994, fig.226 (as 'Rubens?'); "D'après l'antique", exh. cat. Louvre Paris, 2000-2001, p.318, fig.143a (as Rubens?).
Rowlands, Rubens: Drawings and Sketches, BMP, 1977
This is a preparatory drawing for an etching which has been attributed in its first state to both Rubens and Van Dyck. This state before letters is known only from the impression in the British Museum (see R,1a.310). In the second state work on the plate was completed by Lucas Vorsterman with the graver. Although Hind attributed the preliminary etching of the first state to Rubens, it seems to us very possible that Vorsterman himself was responsible for the execution of this print in all its states. Jonathan Richardson junior, in an inscription on the mount of this drawing, noted a connection between it and the antique sculpture then known as 'Seneca in the Bath' formerly in the Villa Borghese in Rome and now in the Louvre; however, although the features in the etching are similar, in the statue the head is bald on top. This statue was in fact originally intended to represent an African fisherman. True to his inventive urge Rubens has combined in this drawing the upward glance of the fisherman statue with the features of a classical bust, which was thought to represent Seneca until an inscribed bust of the philosopher with differing features was found in 1813. There survive many Roman copies of this bust of 'Pseudo-Seneca', one of which belonged to Rubens.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.131
1988 Aug-Oct, Canberra, Australian NG, 'Self-Portrait in Focus', no. 22
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Inscribed by Richardson junior on back of mount: "Seneca in the Bath in the Villa Borghese in Rome, see the Notes / ..." and in another hand: "Purchased" and "Called Van Dyck, but by Rubens"
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number