Book Series Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, vol. 26.2.1

Copies and Adaptations from Renaissance and later Artists: Italian Masters. Raphael and his School


Jeremy Wood

  • Pages:2 vols, 717 p.
  • Size:175 x 260 mm
  • Illustrations:295 b/w, 16 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-1-905375-39-4
  • Hardback
  • Available


"Although the catalogue raisonné as on art-historical genre is no longer fashionable ...., there could be no better demonstration of its lasting value than the thorough assessment of the art of Rubens found in these volumes." (K. De Clippel, in: The Burlington Magazine, vol. 154, n° 1307, February 2012, p.126)

"Die Bände von Belkin und Wood erschliessen auf exemplarische Weise eine Gruppe von Werken, die für das Verständnis von Rubens, seiner Kreativität und seinier Bilderwelt von entscheidender Bedeutung sind. Sie belegen eindrucksvoll, wie im eigentlichen Sinne grundlegend und zugleich inspirierend Œuvrekataloge sein können. Arbeiten wie diese bleiben die unverzichtbare Basis kunsthistorischer Forschung." (C. T. Seifert, in: Sehepunkte, 12 (2012), Nr. 5, 15.05.2012)


This section of the Corpus Rubenianum is concerned with Rubens’s remarkable study of Italian sixteenth-century art as shown through his numerous copies and adaptations. Rubens’s study of the Cinquecento lasted throughout his life and was not just the focus of his early years in Antwerp when he learned his craft. At that time he used secondary copies as models for pen drawings or as a basis for enlarged painted adaptations such as his famous version in Dresden after Michelangelo’s Leda. Rubens’s most important full-size painted copies, however, were made as late as 1628-30 when he had travelled to Madrid and London and was in his fifties, a point when many artists would have thought they no longer needed to study. He may have made these copies because he could not buy the originals for his collection, but the act of creating such detailed visual records shows how attentive he was to the art of the past. This process culminated in his large and very free adaptations of the 1630s, now in Stockholm, after Titian’s Andrians and Worship of Venus which are among the most famous copies in the history of art.

Rubens made relatively few drawings from paintings while in Italy between 1600 and 1608, although some survive after frescoes by Pordenone that he saw in Treviso and there are also a number that record Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Most of the catalogue entries, however, discuss the Italian copy drawings that Rubens bought during his travels and brought home to Antwerp. It will be argued that these sheets were taken out and retouched by him throughout his career. In total, this material amounts to one of the largest collections of graphic art assembled by a late Renaissance painter, and as a result it reveals Rubens’s sophisticated and complex dialogue with Italian art.