- Museum number
Study for the figure of Christ on the Cross; half-length, with arms extended above the head, the thumb of the left hand sketched again at right (cut through). c.1610
Black chalk,with some brown wash, heightened with white
- Production date
- 1610 (circa)
Height: 527 millimetres
Width: 370 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In the delicacy with which the black chalk and white heightening are deployed, the emotion captured in the facial expression and the anatomical accuracy, this study shows Rubens at the height of his capabilities as a draftsman. However, it is worth noting that while it is clearly a careful study from the nude, Julius Held (1986, no. 91), deems that the black chalk is the work of an assistant, while the body-colour is the hand of Rubens. In terms of the context of this drawing, it cannot be linked directly to any commission. The motif of Christ crucified with his arms aloft in the medieval manner occurs in various iterations, such as the Crucified Christ in the Busleyden Museum in Mechelen. The popularity of this form, may explain why was returned to within the workshop. The present drawing appears to have been made later than the studies for the 1610 Antwerp Raising of the Cross, compare for instance that in the Harvard Art Museums (inv. 1949.3). It should also be considered in relation to the Study for Daniel in the Lions’ Den, which is roughly contemporary, and clearly of the same live model (inv. I, 232). It also anticipates the highly worked up study for Paulus Pontius’ engraving of 1631 in the Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam (inv. no. MB5005).
Lit: J. Held, 'Rubens: Selected Drawings', London, 1959, cat. no. 82; J. Rowlands, ‘Rubens: Drawings and Sketches’, exhibition catalogue, British Museum,1977, no. 64; J. Held, 'Selected Drawings', New York, 1986, cat.no. 91.
Entry from J. Rowlands, ‘Rubens: Drawings and Sketches’, exhibition catalogue, British Museum,1977, no. 64:
This closely observed study from the life is a mature work of the highest quality, and should be dated about 1614-15, as Held has suggested. This means that it would be later than the preliminary work on the 'Raising of the Cross' of about 1609-10 for St Walpurgis, Antwerp. The present drawing cannot be linked specifically with any of the many paintings of Christ on the Cross that later issued from Rubens's studio, nor indeed with any other commission known to us.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens drawings and sketches, no.64
1982 Jan-Apr, Manchester,Whitworth Art Gallery, Payne Knight, no. 164
1984 BM, Master Drawings & Watercolours in the British Museum, no. 86
2003 Oct-Dec, Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Jan-Mar, Kobe, City Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Apr-Jun, Fukuoka, City Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Jun-Aug, Niigata, Prefectural Mus of Fine Arts, Treasures of BM
2009/10 Nov-Jan BM, P&D, 'Rubens Drawings' (no cat.)
2015 10 Sep-6 Dec, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 'The Wrath of the Gods'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number