The Crucifixion by Rubens, 1862
The Crucifixion by Peter Paul Rubens, engraved for the Art Journal, 1862.
This engraving shows the central panel from Rubens' altarpiece, The Raising of the Cross, which resides in the Cathedral of Our Lady, in Antwerp, Belgium. Rubens was commissioned to paint the triptych in 1610 after he returned to Antwerp. It, along with The Descent from the Cross, another altarpiece for the cathedral, played an integral part in establishing his reputation in Flanders. An example of one of the many Counter-reformation pieces he painted, it is a synthesis of Rubens own personal style coupled with that of the Italian masters. While the engraving does not contain any of the bold, rich colors of the painting, its energy is still captured and preserved in the movement and careful detailing of the figures as they struggle to lift the cross into place.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. He was a very talented and prolific artist. Though a painter of many genres, he is best known for his Counter-reformation and history paintings. In 1598, he joined the Guild of St. Luke, because membership in the guild was necessary in order to sell art and take on apprentices. His studio in Antwerp became very well known and some of his apprentices went on to become recognized artists themselves. Rubens was fortunate enough to obtain court patronage and was knighted by both King Phillip IV of Spain and King Charles I of England.