A Man Threshing Beside a Wagon, Farm Buildings Behind

Peter Paul Rubens1615 - 1617

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

While this wagon recurs in several paintings, Peter Paul Rubens may have intended this drawing as an independent work of art, rather than a study. Although its composition is simple, this humble genre scene displays Rubens's characteristic lively technique. The sharp perspective, unusual rear view, and lack of alignment between front and rear axles draw the viewer into the space. The splayed side rails and wheel spokes all thrust outward in repeating lines, charging the stationary wagon with energy. Rubens's experiments with different positions for the rustic wagon and the farmer's flail further increase the effect of motion and symmetry.

Rubens varied both his materials and his technique to give the scene immediacy and vigor. The man's red shirt adds to his sense of animation and becomes a focal point of the drawing. Subtle highlights appear in other colors of chalk: yellow inside the wagon, a bit of blue on the barn roof, and touches of brown on wagon wheels and the ground. Rubens's chalk strokes ranged from the stronger, more precise forms of the wagon, whose iron bands and nails are accented in pen and ink, to the light, rapid, strokes employed for the stable and hay.

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  • Title: A Man Threshing Beside a Wagon, Farm Buildings Behind
  • Creator: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Date: 1615 - 1617
  • Physical Dimensions: 25.4 x 41.4 cm (10 x 16 5/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Red, black, blue, green, and yellow chalk, with touches of pen and brown ink, on pale gray paper
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.GG.693
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Classification: Drawings