Peter Paul Rubens, Elevation of the Cross, detail

Peter Paul Rubens, Elevation of the Cross, detail

"Rubens (1577-1640) painted The raising of the cross in 1609-1610, when he himself was about the age of the martyred Christ. Until 1794, this colossal work (central panel: 460 x 340 cm, side panels: 460 x 150 cm) was part of the high altar of the St Walburgis Church, which was later demolished. Hauled away by the French, the triptych was returned to Antwerp in 1815, where since 1816 it has had a central place in the Our Lady’s Cathedral. In The raising of the cross, Rubens introduced baroque art in the Netherlands after an eight year stay in Italy. The whirling strength, the impelling dynamism that characterize this masterpiece full of drama and pathos are striking. Nevertheless the whole presentation appears coherent and balanced.
The diagonal composition of the central panel, with nine assistant executioners who act in unison, exerting their intensely earthly, carnal strength to raise the cross with the pale Christ, possesses a gruesome beauty. Here, Rubens has set down the raising of the cross, which until that time had scarcely appeared in the visual arts, in an unprecedentedly expressive, almost tempestuous manner. This relates to Roman-Catholic self-confidence, which was regained during the Counterreformation." www.dekathedraal.be/en/rubens.htm

Posted by >arthistory390 on 2012-07-21 13:58:55