Rubens’ Ghost (26 April - 3 July 2016), the second display in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Making Discoveries series, will offer a unique insight into the ideas and working methods of the Flemish baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens, focusing predominantly on the changes the artist made to his painting Venus, Mars and Cupid, c.1635. Mounted on a lightbox and installed at the end of Dulwich’s enfilade, will be a life size X-ray- a ghostly image combining the work’s past and present states.
Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator, Dr. Xavier Bray, said:
“X-rays of paintings are normally kept within a museum’s conservation department for the scrutiny of a select few. Now the public will be able to see beneath the surface of Venus, Mars and Cupid and better appreciate the challenges Rubens was confronted with when devising his composition. The position of Cupid, for example, clambering onto Venus’s leg as he holds onto her drapery and opens his mouth to receive a jet of milk from her breast, posed a particular compositional problem for Rubens. Not being satisfied with one position, he changed it as he was working, a detail not appreciated until an X-ray was taken of the painting.”
Rubens’ Ghost is the second in-focus display in Making Discoveries: Dutch and Flemish Masterpieces, which kicked off with I am Van Dyck. The series will showcase four major artists from the Gallery’s collection: Van Dyck, Rubens, Dou and Rembrandt, and brings together recent historical and scientific research to reveal intriguing discoveries and celebrate the creative processes of these Dutch and Flemish Masters.
Dulwich Picture Gallery
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