Sunday 8 November 2015

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 6. Engraved Sources Rubens

The Bust of Rubens in the Jesuit Church, Antwerp.
destroyed in a Fire in 1718.
As a Catholic Michael Rysbrack would almost certainly have been aware of this bust and had seen it before emigrating to England in 1720. It is interesting to surmise whether the memory of it might have acted in some way as a catalyst for the recreation of the bust and statuette of Rubens sculpted 1743, but the inspiration almost certainly came from  a work by Johann Justin Preissler of 1735.

Red Chalk drawing by Jacob de Wit 
Bust of Rubens in Jesuit Church, Antwerp
291 x 282 mm.
British Museum.
This is the frontispiece to a set of thirty-six drawings in red chalk prepared by Jacob de Wit around 1718. They are based on (lost) sketches he made while a student in Antwerp from 1711-1712 at the city's Jesuit church.

When the main body of the church was destroyed by fire in 1718 after having been struck by lightning de Wit realised the importance of his drawings as testimonies for the lost paintings.

 Johan Van Gool  -'De nieuwe schouburg der Nederlantsche kunstschilders en schilderessen', The Hague, 1751, II, p.219) reports that this set was sold to Maria Elizabeth de Waal in 1751, after which it was sold in 1755 in Amsterdam.

Previous owner/ex-collection: George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick (1818 - 93)
(L.2600, Christie's, 20-21.v.1896/103).

The thirty-nine ceiling paintings which Rubens painted in 1620-1621 for the newly-built Jesuit Church in Antwerp constituted the most extensive commission he had received up to that time. They perished in the fire of 1718, however, many of Rubens´s spirited grisaille sketches and final oil sketches for the canvas paintings have survived, and they, together with documents and with contemporary copies by other artists, allow us to reconstruct not only the iconography and compositions of the paintings, but also their style and the overall effect of the series.
The church was rebuilt by Jan Pieter van Baurscheidt the Elder.
Frontispiece to A Book of Engravings
after the lost ceiling pieces by Rubens and his studio in the Jesuit Church Antwerp.
Johann Justin Preissler (1698–1771).
Published by his brother Georg Martin Preissler.

Nuremburg 1735.
Illustrating busts of Rubens and van Dyck.
Note the turned socles and the palette.

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 5, Sources Rubens.

The Engraved Portraits of Peter Paul Rubens, Prior to 1743.

As a collector, some or perhaps all of these engravings would have been available to Rysbrack.

Rysbrack was a prolific collector of engravings, see Rysbrack sale, Langfords of The Piazza Covent Garden, 15, 17 and 18th February, 1764, lot 60; Lot 24 and 25; lots 9, 10 and 11, heads by van Dyck.

The collection of engravings below is by no means exhaustive - others not included are variations of these

Engraved Portrait of Rubens by Wyngarde
after Wenceslaus Hollar (1607 -77).
Undated Mid 17th Century.
From the original portrait in the Rubenshuis,
285 x 223 mm.
British Museum.
Engraved Portrait of Rubens
after the Portrait now in Rubens House Antwerp 
153 x 115 mm
British Museum.
Engraved Portrait of Rubens
by Paulus Pontius after van Dyck,
Dated 1657.
155 x 112 mm.
British Museum.
Engraved Portrait by Johannes Meyssens,
after a Self Portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens now in the Royal Collection.,
Engraved portrait of Rubens after van Dyck, after Paulus Pontius.
by Abraham Lutma. c. 1650.
234 x 155 mm.
British Museum.
The original or a study for it is in the Rijksmusum, Amsterdam.
A pair of related grisailles are at Boughton House, Northamptonshire.
Variations of this engraved portrait are probably the primary source for Rysbrack's representations of Rubens
Engraved Portrait of Rubens
Rene Lochon,
Paris c. 1650.
162 x 121 mm.
Engraved Portrait of Peter Paul Rubens
After the original by Van Dyke ,
Engraved by R Gaywood, 1656.
Engraving of Rubens after the Self Portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Georg Marin Preisler,
Nuremberg c. 1740.
273 x 175 mm
Engraved Portrait of Rubens
after van Dyck,
 by Jean Audran.
pub. by Gaspard Duchange, Paris 1710,
504 x 354 mm
Anonymous Engraving of Rubens aged 46, c. 1700 - 50,
150 x 207mm.
After the self-portrait by Rubens in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, signed and dated 1623, P
ainted for the future Charles I.
It is mentioned in a letter of 10 January 1623 from Rubens to Valavez.
(see R. Magurn, 'Letters of Rubens' no.60).

The Rysbrack Statuettes of Rubens, van Dyck and du Quesnoy, Part 4. Sources Erasmus Quellinus.

 A mid 17th Century Engraving by Paulus Pontius.

 Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.
 Peter Paul Rubens and  Anthony van Dyck
by Paulus Pontius (Paulus Du Pont),
After the original by Erasmus Quellinus (1607 - 78)
Portraits after Sir Anthony van Dyck
line engraving, mid 17th century
 347 mm x 448 mm.


Portraits of Van Dyck and Rubens by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1599-1675).
Oil on wood panel -
size approx. 12 x 17 inches.
Theft Alert
Unfortunately, this painting was stolen while it was on loan for an exhibition at the 
(old) Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne in 1979 and has not yet been recovered.

© Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. 

Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.
I am extremely grateful to Diane Naylor, photo librarian at Chatsworth who provided me with this image. I would also like to thank Charles Noble, Curator of the Devonshire Collection for his communications and for facilitating my obtaining this image.
It should be noted that although attributed to van Diepenbeeck it is very obviously the original to the engraving above.


Queen Christina of Sweden as Minerva.

Engraving mid 17th Century.

340 x 216 mm.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
After the original by Erasmus Quellinus.

Jeremias Falck (1619 - 77).

Now in the Musee de la Chartreuse, Douai. (below).


Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689). As Minerva.

Grisaille, oil on board.

245 x 190 mm.
Monogramed EQ on the book beneath the owl.

Erasmus Quellinus.

Commissioned in 1649 by the Swedish Ambassador Le Blon.
The existence of this grisaille perhaps suggests that there was an original of the bust depicted. Possibly a lost work by his brother Artus Quellinus.
For the Images of Queen Christina see
The Dissertation of Nathan Allan Popp, University of Iowa.
He was not aware of the Grissaille above.
For an excellent and very in depth study of Erasmus Quellinus see
Erasme Quellin, dans le sillage de Rubens. Musee de Flandre, Exhibition Catalogue. 2014.
In it there is a very interesting chapter written by Alain Jacobs - La Sculture dans L'ouevre Peint d' Erasme Quellin.
For a good overview of the career and networks of Erasmus Quellinus see -