The Museo del Prado and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum are presenting the exhibition Rubens. Painter of Sketches. Sponsored by Fundación AXA and with the collaboration of the Government of Flanders, it offers an analysis of Rubens as the most important painter of oil sketches in the history of European art.
The present exhibition brings together 73 examples, including five small sketches for the ceiling paintings in the Jesuit church in Antwerp, loaned by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (2), the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, the Národni Gallery, Prague, and the Gemäldegalerie, Vienna; the Achilles Series, the display of which is completed in the Prado’s Central Gallery of the Villanueva Building with an oil sketch from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, shown alongside the painting of Achilles revealed by Ulysses and Diomedes by Rubens and his studio; and the Eucharist Series from the Prado’s own collection, accompanied by an oil sketch loaned from the Art Institute of Chicago.
Also on public display for the first time is a manuscript copy of a lost sketchbook by Rubens known as the Bordes Manuscript which includes texts and drawings. It is the most important of the four known copies of the manuscript, which in addition to being a direct copy of the original contains two original drawings by the artist, one of them a study for the colossal sculpture known as the Farnese Hercules. The notebook entered the collection of the Prado in 2015 as a generous donation by the sculptor, architect and art historian Juan Bordes. Following its showing at the Prado, Rubens. Painter of Sketches will travel to the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in September.
Curated by Friso Lammertse, curator of Old Master Paintings, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, and Alejandro Vergara, chief curator of Flemish and Northern Schools Painting, Museo Nacional del Prado.