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Peter Paul Rubens: The Life of Achilles

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With his many facets, his virtuosity and his prodigious output, Peter Paul Rubens is one of the giants in the history of art. Peter Paul Rubens: The Life of Achilles sheds light on a relatively unfamiliar aspect of Rubens' enormous body of work, a series of tapestries featuring the Greek hero Achilles. Circa 1630-1635, Rubens painted the designs for these remarkable tapestries, depicting eight decisive moments in the life of Achilles. First, he made eight small sketches in oil, some of the finest of his oeuvre. ...
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Overview

With his many facets, his virtuosity and his prodigious output, Peter Paul Rubens is one of the giants in the history of art. Peter Paul Rubens: The Life of Achilles sheds light on a relatively unfamiliar aspect of Rubens' enormous body of work, a series of tapestries featuring the Greek hero Achilles. Circa 1630-1635, Rubens painted the designs for these remarkable tapestries, depicting eight decisive moments in the life of Achilles. First, he made eight small sketches in oil, some of the finest of his oeuvre. Then the artist and his studio produced large modelli, painted in oil on panels, that further refined his sketches. The exquisite sketches and modelli led finally to magnifications in full-scale cartoons, which were placed under the loom for the tapestry weavers to work from. For the first time, this volume brings together the multiple works that make up the Achilles series, scattered as they are among various public and private collections throughout the world. Here the process from sketch to tapestry is followed in magnificent color illustrations. Accompanying texts consider the genesis, history and iconography of the series.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Rubens was commissioned on four separate occasions to design tapestries, and though they remain among his least familiar works, he was meticulous in subject, composition, and the final placement of the pieces-no simple matter. This work serves as the exhibition catalog for a collaborative effort between the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, which focused on an eight-piece series of tapestries depicting the life of Achilles. For these tapestries, Rubens pulled from his love of Greek classics to create a beautiful collection of sketches, cartoons, and final designs. Lammertse (curator, Boijmans Van Beuningen) and Vergara (chief curator, Prado) detail the development of the series in minute detail. Fantastic historical research and technology strip away the film of years, clearly showing techniques and changes in the art. Focusing on a more obscure aspect of Rubens's work, this is a worthy contribution to the study of an Old Master. For all academic libraries or larger art collections.-Karen Ellis, Nicholson Memorial Lib. Syst., Garland, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789056623272
  • Publisher: nai010 publishers/Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen/Museo Nacional del Prado
  • Publication date: 1/1/2004
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 12.74 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Acknowledgements 8
Small, larger, largest: The making of Peter Paul Rubens's Life of Achilles 10
The cartoons and tapestries of Rubens's Life of Achilles 32
'This is Homer and more than Homer': Rubens's depiction of The life of Achilles 42
Catalogue 57
Provenance of the sketches, modelli and cartoons 58
The life of Achilles
1 Thetis Dipping Achilles in the Styx 64
2 The Education of Achilles 74
3 Achilles Among the Daughters of Lycomedes 84
4 The Wrath of Achilles 96
5 The Return of Briseis 106
6 Thetis Receiving Arms for Achilles 116
7 Achilles Slays Hector 126
8 The Death of Achilles 136
Bibliography 147
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