- Museum number
Design for the frontispiece to the works of Ludovicus Blosius, 1632; above are Christ and the Virgin in Glory, adored by a bishop who kneels at right, holding an open book are four female figures (the monastic virtues), cherubim carrying various symbols at upper right. c.1632
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white over black chalk, indented for transfer
- Production date
Height: 307 millimetres
Width: 212 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This drawing is among several designs that Rubens produced for inclusion in illustrated volumes that were printed in Antwerp by the Plantin Press (for others see for instance, 1900,0824.137 and 1891,0511.31). This is the preparatory design for the title-page of the collected works of Ludovicus Blosius that was published in 1632. It depicts Christ and the Virgin in glory adored by a bishop kneeling at the right before an open book which was intended to contain the publisher’s information. Fiinely drawn in pen and ink, the pen outlines are indented for transfer to an engraving plate for use by Cornelis Galle (for an impression in the British Museum see inv. 1891,0414.1026). Though Van de Velde and Judson attributed the present drawing to Galle, Wood 1983 maintained that it was executed by Rubens, drawing attention to the beautiful plays of light effected by the use of white bodycolour.
Lit: J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings and Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977, no. 221; J. Held, 'Rubens: Selected Drawings', New York, 1986, no. 213; J.R. Judson & C. Van Der Velde, ‘Corpus Rubenianum XXI: Book Illustrations and Title Pages (London, 1978), no. 61b (as C. Galle); C. White, 'Review: Book Illustrations and Title-Pages. Corpus Rubenianum Part XXI,', Master Drawings, Vol. 21, 1983, pp.59-62.
Entry from J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings and Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977:
This preparatory design for the title-page of the collected works of Blosius, published by the Plantin press in 1632, is closely followed by Cornelis Galle in his engraving (1891,0414.1026). Some of the attributes carried by the angels symbolising the different works of the author are modified in the engraving and Blosius himself is given a beard. Arms are also added to the shields that lie on the dais. Standing on this the four women holding the book symbolise the four monastic virtues. Blosius describes these in the preface of the book as mystical contemplation (the veiled woman on the left), gentleness of bearing (the women with the lamb), deep humility (the woman looking down next to Blosius) and mortification of the flesh (the woman holding a whip).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.221
1977 May-Jul Antwerp, Plantin-Moretus, 'Rubens', no. 22b
2009/10 Nov-Jan BM, P&D, 'Rubens Drawings' (no cat.)
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Works of Blosius
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number