This is Volume I of the three-volume catalogue raisonné of all drawings considered by the authors to be by Rubens. It covers the years 1590–1608, Volumes II and III dealing, respectively, with the periods 1609–20 and 1621–40.
"The catalogue is arranged in a precisely conceived chronology, even down to separating recto and verso when they are assigned different dates. In the accompanying volume every drawing is reproduced in excellent color, to which is added the very welcome bonus of illustrations of every work that Rubens has copied." (Christopher White, in Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, December 2021)
Anne-Marie Logan is a specialist in Rubens’s drawings and in those of his Flemish contemporaries, especially Van Dyck’s. She started her work on the present catalogue in 1972, collecting the vast amount of material that would go into a project of this scope. Her work resulted in two major exhibitions, Flemish Drawings in the Age of Rubens: Selected Works from American Collections, Wellesley College and Cleveland Museum of Art, 1993–94, and Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005, with a previous showing at the Albertina, Vienna. In addition, Dr. Logan published catalogues of the drawings and watercolors in the Yale University Art Gallery (1970) and the Detroit Institute of Arts (1987) as well as numerous articles and book and exhibition reviews on Rubens and 17th-century Flemish drawings.
Kristin Lohse Belkin is a Rubens specialist who has carried out extensive research on the artist. She is the author of a book on Rubens published by Phaidon in their Art & Ideas series (1998) and has contributed to the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard (1980 and 2009). In 2000 and 2004, respectively, she co-curated two exhibitions at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp: Images of Death: Rubens copies Holbein (with Carl Depauw) and A House of Art. Rubens as Collector (with Fiona Healy). In addition, Dr. Belkin has written articles and lectured widely on Rubens and Flemish Art.
It is the first publication that presents the artist’s entire drawn oeuvre in chronological order, previous such publications containing only selections of drawings. By leafing through the illustrations, this arrangement provides the user with a quick visual impression of the variety of techniques, media, subject and functions of Rubens’s drawings at any one time.
Volume I consists of the drawings of the artist’s childhood, apprenticeship and first years as a master in Antwerp to his formative years in Italy, spent mostly in Mantua and Rome, with an excursion to Spain. These are the years primarily devoted to learning and absorbing the art of the past, from sixteenth-century German and Netherlandish prints to the works of the ancient and Italian Renaissance masters. A large number of these drawings consists of copies after the works of other artists, largely executed as part of the artistic training at the time.
For the first time, Rubens’s copies and their models are not discussed and illustrated as a separate entity but are fully integrated into the rest of his graphic oeuvre, thus showing copies and original compositions created at the same time side by side. The volume contains 204 entries, including several sheets with drawings on recto and verso. Each entry consists of a detailed physical description of the drawing, provenance, exhibition history, full bibliography and a critical, interpretive discussion. In addition, Volume I contains an essay on the history of the scholarship of Rubens’s drawings, a subject that has not been treated before. All drawings by Rubens and the works by other artists he copied as well as a selection of other comparative images are reproduced in color.