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The striking pen strokes of this turbulent illustration of the abduction of Helen, which was to trigger the Trojan War, are sketched over the initial lines executed in red chalk.
This episode from Christ’s early life was a very popular subject. Nonetheless, Rottenhammer has managed to give an exceedingly personal and original take on the scene, despite using the familiar ingredients. Ca. 1595.
This prolific painter, who had mastered all the genres of his art, was the head of the local Academy for a decade (1765-1775).
This drawing probably has a twofold use: as it is a detailed study for a painting, it may also have served to present a draft of the commissioned work to the client.
Remarkably, this drawing has a signature in the lower right-hand corner, which has faded over time.
Rubens used this sketch to prepare a huge painting commissioned by the Duke of Mantua, Vicenzo Gonzaga (1562-1612).