After Rubens

Etchings from three decades

14 October 2018 – 10 February 2019

Small Exhibition Hall

With his proverbial “Rubens figures”, i.e. voluptuous female nudes, and large-format paintings, Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640) continues to shape our ideas of Baroque art to this day. Printmaking played an important role in the artistic discourse of his time, because it was the only way to disseminate the great artists’ innovative pictorial inventions throughout Europe. Rubens himself used prints both as a source of inspiration for his own works and as a medium for disseminating his original pictorial inventions.

Unlike artists such as Dürer or Rembrandt, however, he did not engrave his prints himself, but had them produced in his workshop in a division of labour. For this purpose, a reproduction drawing – corrected by Rubens – was first made, which then served as a model for the engraver. Rubens even obtained exclusive publication rights for these original prints in several countries.

After his death, foreign publishers continued to disseminate his graphic work, sometimes using new reproduction techniques. In the 19th century, Rubens even advanced to become the cult figure of the Belgian nation state, while the reception of his work today fluctuates between serious artistic debate and pure commerce.

In eight stations, the exhibition provides an insight into the artist’s work and its dissemination in the medium of prints over the course of three centuries.

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