Aspiring artists derived a seemingly endless repertoire of visual motifs and compositional ideas from the 168 woodcuts of Old and New Testament scenes in Tobias Stimmer’s Neue künstliche Figuren Biblischer Historien (Basel, 1576)—the so-called Stimmer Bible. As a teenager, Peter Paul Rubens copied a number of illustrations from the book, including two featuring Old Testament women: Judith and the wife of Job. Visual motifs originating in the Stimmer Bible can be found in several of Rubens’s mature works. This suggests that these drawings stayed with Rubens over the course of his career.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Job's Wife and Judith and Holofernes, ca. 1595. Pen and brown ink on paper. Gift of Otto Manley, inv. 1984.46.
Tobias Stimmer (1539–1584), Neue künstliche Figuren Biblischer Historien, Zu Basel, Bei T. Gwarin, 1576. Gift of Otto Manley, 1984. PML 78265.