CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

New Publication: Rubens’s Great Landscape with a Tempest

A new publication appeared on Rubens’s Great Landscape with a Tempest in Vienna, one of the master’s largest and most dramatic landscapes. Edited by Gerlinde Gruber and Elke Oberthaler, the book provides a comprehensive insight into the process of creation of this fascinating picture as well as its art-historical interpretation.

Featuring Jupiter, Mercury, Philemon, and Baucis, Great Landscape with a Tempest shows a stream that has flooded fields and broken trees after a storm, decimating the landscape in spite of the clearing skies and beginnings of a rainbow appearing in the corner. The storm occurred due to the wrath of Jupiter and Mercury, who came to earth and were only offered hospitality by Philemon and Baucis, thus ensuring their rescued from the punishment of the floods. This painting, evidently produced for pleasure, remained in Rubens’s possession until his death.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Landscape with Philemon and Baucis, ca. 1625
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Exploring from the far-reaching discoveries made about the painting during the latest restoration, Rubens’s Great Landscape with a Tempest offers comprehensive insight into Rubens’s working method, the creation process of this fascinating picture, and the painting’s art-historical interpretation. The most recent restoration revealed that Rubens changed the painting several times, only adding the story of Philemon and Baucis at the end. Along with the complex composition and creation of the painting, the book discusses the restoration procedures and the work’s classification in art history. The editors also bring to light considerations of Rubens’s portrayal of nature and the outstanding position of Great Landscape with a Tempest in European landscape painting.

Rubens’s Great Landscape with a Tempest: Anatomy of a Masterpiece
Edited by Gerlinde Gruber and Elke Oberthaler
200 pages with ca. 100 color illus.
M√ľnchen (Hirmer Verlag) 2021
ISBN: 9783777431772
Available in English and German