Epitaph of Jan Michielsen and his Wife Maria Maes

The exhibition ‘Early Rubens’ will be on view at the Legion of Honor (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) from April 6 through September 8, 2019, and then at the Art Gallery of Ontario from October 12, 2019, through January 5, 2020.

In 1608, after a period of intense artistic study in Italy, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) returned to his home town Antwerp. ‘Early Rubens’ is the first exhibition dedicated to the pivotal years between 1608 and 1620 when the Northern Baroque master established his career. The exhibition will focus on what is arguably the artist’s most innovative period of production. It was during these years that Rubens rose to the first rank of Flemish painting through a series of social and artistic choices that laid the groundwork for his international fame and established a visual style that would guide ambitious painters for generations to come. In more than 30 paintings and 20 works on paper, the exhibition will trace Rubens’s early development as a master painter. 

Christ on the Straw (the Michielsen Triptych) from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Antwerp), alongside the jewel-toned Annunciation from the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), will introduce a gallery featuring scenes from the life of Jesus. These images not only stunned Antwerp at the time of their unveiling; but also set a new template for religious images in Europe and far beyond.

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