- Museum number
Study from the 'Borghese Hermaphrodite', an antique statue in Rome; the back of a nude, sleeping woman, seen from above, legs truncated at the knees and arms unfinished
- Production date
Height: 310 millimetres
Width: 438 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Rowlands, Rubens: Drawings & Sketches, BMP, 1977
Although two early inscriptions on the drawing attribute it to Van Dyck, Rubens is undoubtedly the author of this copy after the antique sculpture in the Borghese collection. Popham's criticism of it as being "too weak and colourless" for the young Rubens we find it difficult to follow. The general popularity of Hermaphrodite sculpture was due to the prestige of this famous example. It is not clear, however, which if any of the versions surviving is the famous work mentioned by Pliny the Elder as the masterpiece of Polyclitus. Rubens was obviously much impressed by this sculpture as in addition to this vivid rendering he did a second copy, more delicately sketched in black chalk, which is now in a private collection in New York.
Literature: Arnout Balis, 'Van Dyck's drawings after the Antique', in Hans Vlieghe (ed.), "Van Dyck 1599-1999: conjectures and refutations", Turnhout, 2001, p.29, repr. p.32, fig.3 (as by Van Dyck).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.18.
2009/10 Nov-Jan BM, P&D, 'Rubens Drawings' (no cat.)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number