- Museum number
Design for the frontispiece to Jacques de Bie's 'Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum, Antwerp, 1617; a seated female figure (Rome) crowned by Victory on a circular pedestal with face left vacant for the title, trophies on either side and at the base a relief of Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf, in the foreground two semi-nude and bound captives. c.1617
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white (discoloured), over graphite
- Production date
Height: 312 millimetres
Width: 204 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- From 1612 onwards, Rubens enaged in the designing of title pages and frontispieces for various volumes that were published in Antwerp, often by the Plantin Press. The present drawing is a preliminary sketch for a frontispiece to an edition of Jacques de Bie’s ‘Numismata Imperatorum’ that was published in 1617. It is freely handled in fine pen lines with a minimal application of wash over an initial drawing in graphite. The design was subsequently engraved by Michel Lasne (for an impression see 1857,0314.4).
Lit: L. Burchard-R.A. d'Haulst, 'Rubens Drawings', 1959, pp.156-59, no.94, fig.94; J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings and Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977, no. 211
Entry from J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings and Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977:
This is a preliminary design for the engraving by Michel Lasne first used for Jacques de Bie, 'Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum', Antwerp, 1617, and three years later in Ludovicus Nonnius, 'Commentarius in Nomismata Imp. Ivlii Augusti et Tiberii...', Antwerp, H. Verdussen, 1620 (see 1857,0314.4).
The idea of 'Roma' enthroned surrounded by bound prisoners and the trophies of war employed here, is derived from a sculpture group which at the beginning of the seventeenth century was in the gardens of Frederigo Cesi's palace in Rome. It was later acquired by Clement XI and is now in the Palazzo dei Conservatori. Except for the attributes, the statue of 'Roma' is closely followed by Rubens but the trophies and pedestal have been altered.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.211
2005 April-July, Seoul Arts Centre, 'BM Treasures...'
2005 July-Oct, Korea, Busan Museum, 'BM Treasures...'
2005/6 Oct-Jan, Daegu, Keimyung Univ. Museum, 'BM Treasures...'
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number