Angel

Peter Paul Rubens

Flemish, 1577 - 1640

Angel, 1610-11

  • On View

Oil on modern support transferred from wood panel

Dimensions: 80 1/2 × 57 in. (204.5 × 144.8 cm)

Gift of Viola E. Bray, 2005.158

Completed entirely by Rubens himself, this painting of an angel exhibits the influences of the Italian artists Michelangelo, Titian, and Caravaggio. Executed shortly after he returned to the Netherlands from his eight years of artistic training in Italy, this work was created as part of a much larger commissioned altarpiece for the Church of Saint Walburga in Antwerp. The original altarpiece consisted of several different parts, including his well-known triptych The Raising of the Cross (now located in Antwerp Cathedral). Unfortunately, the work was dismantled in the early eighteenth century and the related paintings, including the angel seen here, were sold to raise money for a new altar. In its original state, the angel surmounted the altarpiece and was meant to be seen at a distance from below, as if in flight. In addition to the laurel wreath of victory held in the angel’s left hand, it once held a palm leaf – possibly made of metal – in its right hand.

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