Monday, February 2, 2015

Painting of the Day: War and Victory: Model for a Title Page, 1645-1635

War and Victory
Rubens, 1634-1635
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This handsome work is a model for a title page  for a book which was published in Antwerp by Jan Cnobbaert in 1635.  The painting is from the masterful hand of Rubens (1577-1640).

This piece is one of only three known oil sketches in grisaille (monochrome painting) that Rubens designed for use as title pages. Rubens' work represents the finest hallmarks of  the Italian High Renaissance.  He wedded these ideals, with which he became acquainted during an extended visit to Italy, with northern realism. 

The oil sketch depicts, on the right, a male allegorical figure who is carrying the trophies of war, and, on the left, a winged female allegorical figure.  She offers upward a laurel wreath to a rather busy eagle who holds serpent in its talons.  At the top two Genii crown a coat of arms adorned with wreaths.  A blank cartouche anchors the bottom of the composition.

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