From the museum press release, 24 September 2014
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are welcoming two exceptional pieces of silverware inspired by Rubens! This loan from the Colette and Pierre Bauchau Fund managed by the King Baudouin Foundation is accompanied by the new hanging of painted oil sketches, beautiful first drafts of some of the greatest works of the artist.
From October 21st 2014 until January 25th 2015, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) will display the silver water jug and plate (1635-36) that depict historical scenes inspired by Peter Paul Rubens. Th is takes place within the context of the rehanging of the eighteen painted oil sketches, exclusively from the hand of Rubens, that belong to their collections.
In collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation and thanks to the generosi
ty of Sir and Mrs Bauchau, the RMFAB offer a remarkable set of art pieces that perfectly illustrate the influence and the extent of Rubens’s activities within all artistic domains and amongst the most influential men and women of his era.
Silverware from a prestigious background
The silver water jug and plate were very likely created around 1635-36 by the
famous silversmith Théodoor I Rogiers (1602-1654?) from Antwerp. These extremely
rare pieces were supposedly owned by the second son of Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas, and maybe even by the old master himself.
Birth of the biggest works of Rubens
The Museums possess, amongst others, a sketch of one of the paintings on the ceiling of the Carolus Borromeus Church in Antwerp (destroyed paintings) and
another one that was used for the elaboration of one of the ceiling canvases of the Banqueting Hall (Whitehall Palace), at the request of Charles I of England.
The museums also hold twelve delicate oil sketches that Rubens made for the decoration of the Torre de la Parada, the hunting pavilion of the Spanish King
Philippe IV near Madrid. They also preserve a sketch of Victory of the Eucharist, a recently restored model of the tapestry on the same subject that can be found at the monastery of las Descalzas Reales and that was ordered by Isabelle of Habsburg, then governess of the Netherlands.
A unique confrontation
The confrontation between the Torre de la Parada sketches and the King Baudouin Foundation silverware are made even more interesting by the fact that both date
from the same period (1636-1638). Moreover, the sketches illustrate topics taken from Metamorphoses by Ovidius whereas the water jug and plate are embellished with multiple scenes from, amongst others, the classical