'The composition is a masterly exercise in balance, although Peter Paul Rubens has not simply painted a Flemish farm in full bustle.'
The Prodigal Son by Peter Paul RubensRoyal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
'The very freely painted sketch, with 'All Saints' as its subject, was later developed by Rubens in a drawing.'
All Saints (circa 1614) by Peter Paul RubensMuseum Boijmans Van Beuningen
'Rubens depicted the moment that Psyche catches her first glimpse of Cupid; she is seated on the edge of the bed in which he sleeps, holding a lamp from which oil would drip and waken him. Rubens used a male model for the study, softening his musculature in the painting into the artist's more familiar fleshy forms.'
Psyche (c.1612 - c.1615) by Sir Peter Paul RubensRoyal Collection Trust, UK
'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.'
A Man Threshing Beside a Wagon, Farm Buildings Behind (1615–1617) by Peter Paul RubensThe J. Paul Getty Museum
'Using a single dim source of light, he created strong contrasts of brightness and shadow on the man's skin, varying these along with the different expressions. He aptly captured Rubens's great achievement--the three-dimensional quality of his modeling and the pulsating vitality he bestowed on painted human flesh.'
Four Studies of a Male Head (Back)The J. Paul Getty Museum
'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.'
Matthaeus Yrsselius (1541-1629), Abbot of Sint-Michiel's Abbey in Antwerp (About 1624) by Peter Paul RubensSMK - Statens Museum for Kunst
'The painting is the 'modello' for an enormous canvas (414 x 347 cm) that Rubens painted for the St Livinus Church in Ghent.'
The Martyrdom of Saint Livinus (1633 - 1635) by Peter Paul RubensMuseum Boijmans Van Beuningen
'This work reveals the close connections that existed between designers and craftsmen and Rubens's reputation as a source of inspiration for other artists.'
The Three Graces (c.1636) by Rubens, Sir Peter PaulDulwich Picture Gallery
'Rubens used oil sketches to explore his ideas about design and composition, and also as templates from which his assistants could generate full-scale canvases.'
Aurora abducting Cephalus (about 1636-7) by Peter Paul RubensThe National Gallery, London