The two innocent sleeping children seen here are thought to be Clara and Philip, the children of Rubens's elder brother. This elder brother, Philip, was extremely close to Rubens and he died in 1611. He left two children, born in 1610 and 1611, and Rubens is thought to have created this study from his deep regard for his brother. Judging from the ages of the children, this work is thought to have been painted around 1612/1613. Rubens later used the faces of these two children in large-scale paintings in oils, respectively the Madonna in Floral Wreath (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) and the Madonna and the Angels (Musée du Louvre, Paris). This work is a study work, revealing the freshness found in sketching directly from a subject, and yet it is a superb example of the artist's inimitable brush, particularly in the truly touchable depiction of the rich fleshiness of the children's cheeks. This is an example of Rubens's uncanny ability to evoke an image of his subject through an adroit use of transparent pigments and opaque pigments, adjustments of light and dark tonalities and differences in the thickness of paint application. Radiographic examination reveals that originally the child on the left was awake and looking straight ahead. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 26)


  • Title: Two Sleeping Children
  • Creator Lifespan: 1577 - 1640
  • Creator Nationality: Flemish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Antwerp
  • Creator Birth Place: Siegen
  • Date Created: c. 1612-13
  • Location Created: Flanders
  • Provenance: Brought into the Radziwill family by Princess Louise of Prussia (1770-1836), daughter of Ferdinand of Prussia, as part of her dowry by her marriage to Prince Anton Henri Radziwill (1775-1833), Berlin, 17. 3. 1796; By direct inheritance to Prince Stanislas Radziwill (1866-1920), her great grand son; Princess Dolly Radziwill-Tvede (1886-1966), his widow; Duchess A. de Maillé, her daughter, untill 1972.
  • Physical Dimensions: w655 x h505 mm
  • Painter: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Object title (Japanese): 眠る二人の子供
  • Object notes (Japanese): あどけない寝顔を見せるこの子供たちは、画家の兄の子、クララとフィリップと考えられる。画家が非常に仲よくしていた兄フィリップが1611年に歿し、残された二人の子供(1610年および11年の生まれ)にルーベンスはことのほか関心を寄せてこの習作を描いたのであろう。二人の子供の年格好からすれば、1612/13年頃の制作となる。これら二人の子供の顔はそれぞれ別々にミュンへンの《花環の聖母》やルーヴルの《聖母と天使》など、大型油彩画にも用いられている。写生に基づく描写の直接性と新鮮さに溢れたこの作品は習作であるだけに、画家の闊達な筆の運びや、特に二人の子供の頬に見られる豊かな肉付けなどに直に接することができる。透明色と不透明色との巧みな使い分け、明暗の色調の差、絵具の厚みの差などによって対象を見事に描出するルーベンスの生彩ある写実法がよく発揮された作例である。なお、X線写真撮影の結果、左側の子供は、初め目覚めた状態で前方に顔を向けていたことが分かった。(出典: 国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 26)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): ルーベンス、ペーテル・パウル
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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