The Corpus Rubenianum holds a unique place within Art History as one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. Both its massive scale and sheer duration fully parallel the complexity of the oeuvre of Peter Paul Rubens. In every brushstroke he ever painted, the grand baroque master blended art with literature, art theory with theology, mythology with history. Studying Rubens in this collaborative effort is much like studying the very foundations of European civilization, for the oeuvre of Rubens is a true treasure trove of the principal elements of our culture. Rubens's compositions are the most fascinating combinations of ideas ranging from kabbalah to Greco-Roman mythology, from optics to image-theology, from linguistics to archeology, or from politics to ethics (not to mention esthetics).
Rubens designed and made over 2500 compositions, most of which were extensively copied. The complexity of his oeuvre is unrivalled. The Corpus is based on the material assembled over several decades by Ludwig Burchard, universally recognized as the foremost scholar in this field. Each part is written by a well-known scholar and the aim is to realize Burchard's intention of embodying all present-day knowledge of the work of Rubens.
Nevertheless, the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard endeavour is nearing its completion, with the remaining volumes reaching their final stages. By 2020, Harvey Miller / Brepols is to publish the concluding volumes, and then the immense oeuvre of one of the greatest artists in history will have been catalogued and finally made accessible for further research.