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Matthaeus Yrsselius (1541-1629), Abbot of Sint-Michiel's Abbey in Antwerp

Peter Paul RubensAbout 1624

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

SMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

Yrsselius was originally a sepulchral tablet accompanied by an epitaph which does not survive today. The tablet was originally placed by the abbot’s grave in the church of the St.Michael’s Abbey. A few years prior to his death the abbot gave the church an altarpiece for the high altar, featuring a Rubens painting of the Adoration of the Magi.

Part of an all-inclusive decoration

The tablet was intended to be hung in such a way that the abbot looked towards the high altar with his hands folded in "eternal prayer", taking part in the adoration of the Christ Child on the altarpiece. This form of all-inclusive decoration, where figures in paintings are connected by the mental bridge established through a gaze, a gesture, or spatial links, is a typical feature of the Baroque.

The portrait's colour scheme

Matthæus Yrsselius had his portrait painting wearing the white habit of the Premonstratensians with the mitre and the crozier by his side. In a colour scheme typical for Rubens, the white habit shines like mother-of-pearl against a lacquer-red background where the shadow cast by the crozier gives depth.

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Details

  • Title: Matthaeus Yrsselius (1541-1629), Abbot of Sint-Michiel's Abbey in Antwerp
  • Creator: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Date Created: About 1624
  • Værktekst: Yrsselius fungerede oprindeligt som et epitafium (mindetavle) med en tilhørende gravskrift, som ikke længere er bevaret. Epitafiet var ophængt ved abbedens grav i Skt. Mikaelsklosterets kirke. Nogle år før sin død havde abbeden skænket en altertavle til kirkens højalter med et maleri af Rubens forestillende de hellige tre kongers tilbedelse af Jesusbarnet. Maleriet som del af en totaludsmykning Epitafiet var bestemt til at hænge på en sådan måde, at abbeden rettede sin opmærksomhed imod højalteret og med hænderne foldet i "evig bøn" deltog i tilbedelsen af det lille Jesusbarn på altertavlemaleriet. Den form for totaludsmykninger, hvor maleriernes aktører sammenknyttes gennem den mentale bro, der etableres ved blikretning, gestik og rumlig sammenhæng, er typisk for barokken. Portrættets farvesammenstilling Matthæus Yrsselius lod sig portrættere iført præmonstratensernes hvide ordensdragt med mitraen og bispestaven ved sin side. I en for Rubens meget typisk farvesammenstilling er den hvide ordensdragt, der skinner som perlemor, set på en lakrød baggrund, hvor bispestavens slagskygge fungerer som effektfuld dybdemarkør.
  • Teknik: Olie på egetræ
  • Proveniens: Erhvervet 1809
  • Provenance: Acquired 1809
  • Physical Dimensions: w102.5 x h120 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2693
  • Dansk Titel: Matthæus Yrsselius (1541-1629), abbed ved Sint-Michiels kloster i Antwerpen
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on oak

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