The Rubens drawing that is on display is from the National Museum's collection and is the museum's only certain Rubens drawing. The front shows a quickly recorded battle scene in pen - probably a mythological event - which one however, is unknown…
This is Stephan Kuhn, art historian at the National Museum
The representation of a toddler lying on a blanket is striking - masterfully drawn in red chalk with highlights in white chalk.
It is believed that this may be a preliminary work for the painting titled “The Discovery of the infant Erichthonius” - which shows an Ancient Greek mythological scene where Kekrop's daughters find Erichthonius - who according to mythology, became the king of Athens.
The drawing on the front was first discovered while being restored in 1950. It was pasted on paper and only one side of the sheet, the current back, was visible…
Here Rubens has drawn a quick sketch of men gathered around a sarcophagus, most likely the apostles at Mary's tomb.
The work unites the different functions of the drawing, two quickly drawn sketches and one detailed preparatory work.
The National Museum has approximately 250 drawings made by artists in the Netherlands and Flanders in the 16th and 17th centuries - among them, artists such as Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens.
As part of the work for this exhibition, many of these have been photographed, quality assured and made available in the digital collection.