May 20, 2004 - June 20, 2004
On 20 May two works by the great Flemish painter from the private collection of Moscow art connoisseur V.A. Logvinenko were put on display in the Rubens Hall. These are the small-scale paintings The Adoration of the Shepherds and The Union of Earth and Water. Both compositions are linked with earlier works by the artist. The Union of Earth and Water is a smaller version of a large decorative canvas that is in the State Hermitage collection. The Adoration of the Shepherds repeats motifs found in several paintings of the Italian and early Antwerp period of the master, though on the whole it is a completely new composition.
The small-scale version of The Union of Earth and Water was very likely made to order in Rubens’ atelier. Technical analysis and visual inspections carried out in the Hermitage prove that the central group – Cybele, Neptune and winged Victory – was created with the direct participation of the master. Rubens’ assistants evidently carried out the preparation of the composition, the portrayal of Triton and the two cherubs, the tiger and cornucopia. The special technical characteristics of the execution correspond to the master’s working methods. The painting was done using the traditional Flemish technique of semi-transparent, multi-layered, glossy painting with a white chalk base coat that optically enhances the brilliance of the layers of pigment. This technique is the reason for the greater luminosity and higher color intensity of the paints used in the small-scale Union of Earth and Water compared with the Hermitage painting.
The Adoration of the Shepherds has an intimate character and is noted for the emphasis on the genre treatment of a subject from the Evangels. The figures of Mary, the Christ child, the shepherds, youths and shepherdesses in the right part of the composition can be traced back to the group of personages in the large altarpiece called The Adoration of the Shepherds (or The Nativity) which Rubens painted in 1608 for the San Spirito Church in the city of Fermo.
Event source: www.hermitage.ru
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