- Museum number
- Object: Mercurius Abituriens
Plate 33: The Stage of Mercury: the monument comprises five bays designed to simulate aged stonework encrusted with stalactites, giving the appearance of water trickling over it; a platform spans the three middle sections, each adorned with a painted canvas, and is flanked on either side by smaller bays; above the centre portal the globe of the world rests on the head of Oceanus flanked at right and left by dolphins, which appear again atop the outermost sections; tritons sound their trumpets and extend standards bearing the coat of arms of Antwerp and a labarum with the letters S.P.Q.A.; between them two genii empty water from large urns; seated on the rocky, reed-covered rise are Neptune, holding his trident and rudder, and Amphitrite, holding a cornucopia with her hand on the prow of a ship; towering over the two deities is the tall mast of a ship with banners flying and complete with rigging, crow's nest and furled sail; in the centre portal, the canvas backdrop represents a statue of Mercury with personifications of the River Schelde and the city of Antwerp; in the opening to the left Wealth empties a cornucopia in the lap of Abundance; opposite is the personification of Poverty as a family; in the niches flanking the monument stands statues of Comus (god of revelry) and Industria (daughter of Poverty); after Peter Paul Rubens; illustration for Gaspar Gevaerts' "Pompa Introitus" (Antwerp, 1641)
- Production date
- 1635-1641 (c.)
Height: 406 millimetres (plate-mark)
Height: 649 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 499 millimetres
Width: 543 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- One of a series of forty-three plates illustrating Gaspar Gevaerts' "Pompa Introitus"; for further comments see 1884,0112.31. Marine symbolism predominates this arch, stretching some twenty metres in length along the Hoogstraat at Sint-Jansburg (now the Kleine Tunnelplein). Rubens' preliminary oil sketch for the stage (now in St Petersburg) shows only the three middle bays, but with the delayed date of the Entry he extended the monument to include the smaller niches with the statues of Comus and Industria. Theodore van Thulden and a team of four artists, including Jan de Labarre, Jan and Gaspar van Balen, and Erasmus Quellinus, were reponsible for painting the decorations of the arch.
Lit: John Rupert Martin, The Decorations for the Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi, Corpus Rubenianum XVI, London, 1972, pp. 178, 182-189.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Entry of Cardinal Infante Ferdinand of Austria into Antwerp 1635 (17 April)
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Pompa Introitus Honori Serenissimi Principis Ferdinandi (Antwerp, 1641)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For comments see 1884,0112.31.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number