Paintings conservator Cristina Morilla takes a close look at Peter Paul Rubens’s oil sketch Hercules Strangling the Nemean Lion, commissioned by King Philip IV of Spain. Although the larger painting of Hercules Strangling the Nemean Lion that once hung on the walls of the Royal Palace of Madrid is now lost, Morilla discusses how different analytical investigations of the sketch, such as infrared photography and other scientific methods, shed light on Rubens’s technique and reveal the secrets of the master.
This video is part of our Art Talks series, in which our team of curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students will share short, informal videos that offer an up-close look at works from our collections.
Cristina Morilla, Associate Paintings Conservator, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies
Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, Hercules Strangling the Nemean Lion, c. 1639. Oil with traces of red chalk on cradled panel. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Dr. Charles and Nobuko Kuhn in honor of Charles L. Kuhn, Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1930–1968, 2000.199.