- Gallery Text
Saint Paul was one of the founders of the Catholic Church, and his writings codified many of its doctrines. Both he and Saint Peter were said to have visited Emperor Constantine in his dreams, inspiring his conversion. Rubens’s companion painting of Saint Peter is displayed nearby. The pairing of these saints — also the namesakes of Rubens himself — therefore emphasizes the authority of the Church.
His expression pensive, Paul holds the sword with which he was martyred. His cheeks are blotchy and flushed, and blue veins are visible at his temple. In the center, his beard occasions a passage of rapid brushwork that deploys a range of techniques. Colors are blended directly on the surface, creating a sense of softness and movement; paint is scraped away with the butt of a brush or another tool; and strokes of thick white impasto are interspersed with areas so thinly painted that the ground layer is left visible.
- Identification and Creation
- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on panel
- 65.5 x 48.5 cm (25 13/16 x 19 1/8 in.)
framed: 92.5 x 75 cm (36 7/16 x 29 1/2 in.)
- ?St. Donatus's Church, Bruges. Augustine Monastery of St. Florian, St. Florian, Austria (Chorherrenstift Sankt Florian) (until 1936) sold; to [Galerie Sankt Lucas, Vienna], sold; to [Dr. and Mrs. Rudolf J. Heinemann], (1936-1997) bequest; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1997.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Lore Heinemann in memory of her husband, Dr. Rudolf J. Heinemann
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Johannes Hollnsteiner, Das Chorherrenstift St. Florian (Steyr, Austria, 1923), p. 41, repro.
William R. Valentiner, "Rubens' Paintings in America", The Art Quarterly (1946), vol. IX, p. 159, no. 53
Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held, Rubens in America, Pantheon Books (New York and Antwerp, 1947), p. 36, no. 64, pl. 48
Erik Larsen, Peter Paul Rubens, De Sikkel (Antwerp, 1952), p. 216, no. 34
Hans Vlieghe, Saints, I (Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard), Phaidon (London, England and New York, NY, 1972), pp. 68-70, no. 52, repr. as fig. 94
James Cuno, ed., A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, Mass., Spring 2000), pp. 46-47, repr. p. 47
- Exhibition History
Calming the Tempest with Peter Paul Rubens, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/22/2001 - 03/17/2002
Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011
32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 09/08/2017
- Related Works
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