© Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin - Brandenburg, Potsdam.

Three versions of 'The Battle of the Amazons'

The Rubens House in Antwerp presents three versions of the painting The Battle of the Amazons.

The young Rubens probably painted The Battle of the Amazons before leaving in 1600 for Italy, where he was to spend the next eight years. The painting is not only one of Rubens's oldest known works, but also the result of his earliest known collaboration with his colleague and good friend Jan Brueghel I.

This early composition exists in several versions. How do they relate to one another, and what is their status? It was standard studio practice to market a composition in a number of versions. After all, the invention and development of an artistic product was time-consuming and intellectually challenging, and the aim was to profit from the investment.

The examination of The Battle of the Amazons fits into broader research undertaken for the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, the catalogue of Rubens's work published by the Centrum Rubenianum. The need for in-depth research into these versions has arisen because of the planned publication in 2015 of the first volume on Rubens's mythological paintings.

The young Rubens: three versions of The Battle of the Amazons
Until 20 April
The Rubens House, Antwerp
More info

(News item 2 April 2014)