Skip to Content
Today Open today 10–11 members | 11–5 public

Nude Youth in the Pose of the Spinario

A work made of black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on tan laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on tan laid paper.




Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577–1640

About this artwork

Italy, specifically ancient Roman sculpture, profoundly influenced Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. The artist himself wrote that “in order to attain the highest perfection in painting, it is necessary to understand the antiques … to be so thoroughly possessed of this knowledge that it may diffuse itself everywhere.”

This drawing of a live studio model derives from the artist’s firsthand acquaintance with the Hellenistic bronze Spinario (also called Boy with Thorn, 1st century BCE), which was one of the most celebrated and copied sculptures in Rome. Absorbing antiquity without outright copying it, Rubens fully transformed his image from cold stone to vibrant flesh.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Peter Paul Rubens


Nude Youth in the Pose of the Spinario


Flanders (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1610–1616


Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on tan laid paper


Inscribed recto, lower right, in pen and black ink: Peter Paul Rubens f[ecit] 1577 + 1640"; lower right, in graphite: "Rubens" (partially erased)


28 × 18.8 cm (11 1/16 × 7 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions