Peter Paul Rubens’ gifts as an artist were as comprehensive as they were supreme. A prolific painter of illimitable resource and invention, he was a master of intellect and emotion, figure and form, color and sweep. In all his artistic endeavors, he proved himself the true heir of Renaissance art of both the North and the South, inspired by — and assimilating — the best of both. Yet he was very much a man of his time and in retrospect the most powerful, exuberant, and sensuous exponent of the Baroque style in painting.
His extraordinary drawings reflect all of these qualities but color, and in them the viewer can clearly perceive — and enjoy at leisure — the awesome range of Rubens’ genius. In this superb collection of 44 of his choicest drawings are deeply probing portraits and powerful religious and mythical scenes. His self-portrait, full of opulent and flowing forms, reaches out to us with a startling, penetrating gaze. His individual portraits of a young girl and of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, reveal in both instances a touching sensitivity mixed with aristocratic self-possession.
Here, too, are two scenes of poignant tenderness suspended in a majestic flow of movement: one depicting the entombment of Christ; the other, Venus lamenting Adonis. The exciting “The Death of Hippolytus” and “A Battle of Greeks and Amazons” reveal Rubens’ total command of complex patterns of action and movement. These and over three dozen other works offer limitless pleasure and stimulation to all who prize and wish to study the art of drawing at its most inspired. Meticulously reproduced on fine-quality paper, and offered at a very reasonable price, this beautiful book belongs with others in your collection, reflecting the greatest achievements in Western art.