CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Drawn by the brush: oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens

Exhibition: 11 June - 11 September 2005


The exhibition is curated by Peter C. Sutton, Director of the Bruce Museum, and Marjorie E. Wieseman*, Curator of European Painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum. At the Berkeley Art Museum, the exhibition is organized by Lucinda Barnes, Associate Director for Art, Film, and Programs.


This exhibition is is co-organized by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich, CT; and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH.

From the museum website

Drawn by the brush: oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens is the first exhibition in the United States to present a comprehensive survey of Rubens’s oil sketches. Painted in preparation for other, larger works, including tapestries, altarpieces, engravings, sculptures, and ceiling paintings, these small, engaging sketches were completed entirely by the artist’s own hand; they are thus a direct record of the artist’s creative process, an intimate glimpse of the original spark of inspiration. Rubens (1577-1640) was a man of broad talents and interests; he was immensely successful as a diplomat, entrepreneur, and artist in service to powerful patrons across Europe.

Drawn by the brush provides today’s viewers with a window into the fertile imagination of this master, revealing his artistic passion, spontaneity, and spirit of invention. Encounter 40 intimate works by Peter Paul Rubens and see the first-ever exhibition in the United States devoted exclusively to these sketches, featuring works from public and private collections in Europe and North America, including the Cincinnati Art Museum’s own collection.

This exhibition, accompanying catalogue, and website create a multilayered and interdisciplinary educational approach to the life and work of Peter Paul Rubens in the context of seventeenth-century Europe.


A fully illustrated, 280-page catalogue, distributed by Yale University Press, discusses Rubens’s stylistic development, his major commissions and projects, his predecessors, techniques and materials, as well as the historical appreciation of the sketches. Authors are the Bruce Museum’s Executive Director Peter C. Sutton, Marjorie E. Wieseman, Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Nico van Hout, Paintings Conservator at the Koninklijk Museum in Antwerp.

Other venues

Greenwich, Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences (17 September 2004-30 January 2005)
Berkeley, Berkeley Art Museum (2 March-15 May 2005)