Zoom into 'Study for the Circumcision' by Peter Paul Rubens

About this drawing

'Study for the Circumcision', Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Drawn about 1605

This is a 'squared up' study for the bottom portion of a painting now on the High Altar of the church of the Gesu in Genoa. There are detail differences between this study and 'The Circumcision'. This drawing may have been used to make a smaller painted picture that could be shown to the prospective patrons, who might then have suggested changes.

Try zooming into the bottom right hand corner of the picture in order to see the stamp of the collector Richard Houlditch Senior who was the Director of the South Sea Company until its collapse in 1720. Collectors historically stamped the drawings they collected as an act of ownership and to protect them from theft. The notoriety of previous owners could also add further value to drawings and works of art.

Can you spot the woman in the background that is shown with two heads? It seems that when Rubens produced this drawing he wasn't sure which direction she should be looking. What about the man wearing spectacles? Or the dog lost amongst the crowd of peoples feet?

Accession number WAG 1995.215

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