Early Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, c. 1614 – 1616. Oil on canvas, Overall: 224.2 x 330.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1965.13.1. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

One of the most renowned painters in Western art history, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a master storyteller whose larger-than-life paintings bring to life stories from myth, history and the Bible. Join us on Monday, Oct. 7 as exhibition co-curator Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, reveals the ambition and inspiration behind many of his most famous works. Featuring over 30 large-scale paintings – including several never before shown in North America – and more than 20 works on paper, Early Rubens opens in Toronto on Oct. 12, 2019.

Organized thematically and offering insights into the evolution of Rubens’s studio, his innovative use of copyright law and Antwerp’s violent history, Early Rubens highlights artworks produced between 1609 and 1621.  A leader in the manufacturing of harpsichords during this time, the exhibition pays homage to Antwerp’s musical heritage with a series of live performances. The exhibition also spotlights two works from the AGO Collection: Massacre of the Innocents from 1610, and Rubens’s largest and most realized oil sketch The Raising of the Cross, from 1638. Measuring 4.5 feet by 6 feet, The Massacre of the Innocents masterfully combines Italian drama with Flemish realism to create a brutal and compelling anti-war statement.
Featuring remarks by:

  • Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, AGO
  • Dr. Alexandra (Sasha) Suda, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada and former Curator of European Art, AGO

Early Rubens is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Art Gallery of Ontario.