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Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Descent from the Cross, ca. 1617–18. Verso: St Andrew
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, occasional point of brush, on light brown paper
13 9/16 x 9 1/16 inches (345 x 233 mm)
Thaw Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum; 1998.26
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This rapidly drawn sheet demonstrates the inventiveness and importance of preparatory drawings in Rubens’s creative process. It represents his initial ideas for a composition that was realized in two painted versions of the subject commissioned by the Order of the Capuchins in 1617 and circa 1618–19, although neither painting replicates the composition exactly.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.