About this artwork
Using chalk and a loose sheet of paper, Peter Paul Rubens depicted three figures from a sarcophagus likely seen in Roman collector Ciriaco Mattei’s garden. Rubens visited the Eternal City twice during his stay in Italy (1600–08).
Chalk was more portable than ink and therefore an easier medium in which to directly record the remnants of Classical antiquity. Rubens used it to convey the contours of specific sculptural elements as well as the shadows created by their volumes. In comparing this drawing to its source, one can appreciate how selectively Rubens extracted the figures from their architectural surround.
Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Peter Paul Rubens
- Studies of a Roman Sarcophagus
- Black chalk on cream laid paper
- Inscribed by the artist, upper left, in pen and brown ink: "Socrates procul dubio" (Socrates without doubt); upper right: "Xantippe quae stomachatur / vide os columnatum" (Xantippe in one of her moods / see her pillared face); inscribed, lower left, in pen and brown ink: "Rubbens"; verso, upper left, in graphite: "PP Rubens 1577–1640"; lower left, in graphite: "lot 34, 11 ⅛ x 6 ⅜ / Socrates Telanteppe/ Rubens 1577–1640"; lower center, in pen and blue ink: "Peter Paul Rubens 1577–1640"
- 285 × 420 mm
- The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection