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PETER PAUL RUBENS (studio) 1577 Siegen – Antwerp 1640
The Prophets David and Daniel (after RAPHAEL) ca. 1600
red chalk with white heightening; 354 x 301 mm (14 x 11 7/8 inches)
Jeffrey Whitehead, London
Hugo Helbing, Munich, June 19, 1897, lot 252
Maurice Marignane, Paris
I, Q. van Regteren Altena, acquired in January of 1927
Rubens exhibition held by Jacques Goudstikker, August 5–October 1, 1933, no. 69
[according to a pencil note on Van Regteren Altena’s mount]
Rubens in Italien: Gemälde, Ölskizzen, Zeichnungen, Wallraf Richartz Museum, Cologne, 1977, no. 69 (as by Rubens)
Anne Marie Logan, Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, under no. 114
Jeremy Wood, Corpus Rubensianum: Copies and Adaptations from Renaissance and later artists, part 1: Raphael and his School, London/Turnhout 2010, vol. 1, pp. 229f.; vol. 2, fig. 74
The drawing was long considered to be by Rubens. With the discovery of another drawing depicting the same two figures and either fully drawn or, more likely, at least retouched by Rubens (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), our drawing is now mostly seen as a copy of the other sheet. It was undoubtedly executed in Rubens’ studio and Jeremy Wood has suggested an attribution to Erasmus Quellinus (1607–Antwerp–1678). However, some scholars, most notably Michael Jaffé, still uphold the attribution to Rubens and suggest that the drawing was executed during the artist’s second stay in Rome 1605–08. For Jaffé it was used as the model for the New York sheet.
The drawings depict the two prophets painted by Raphael above the entrance to the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria della Pace in Rome. The fresco was commissioned by Antonio Chigi in 1511 and the composition is sometimes also referred to as Jeremiah Dictating the Word of God to Baruch. When Rubens travelled in Italy during his twenties between 1600 and 1608, he intensely studied the works of art he encountered. He did not always copy the compositions himself but used the work of copyists, some perhaps even commissioned by himself, to add his own retouches and pentimenti. The drawings then became reference points to which the artist would return throughout his career. Raphael’s two prophets were never adapted into one of Rubens’ own compositions. The Italian master’s dynamic and sculptural treatment of drapery, however, left a strong impression on the young Rubens. It is echoed by many of the figures in the religious scenes painted by Rubens upon his return to Antwerp.