RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)
The Victory of Eucharistic Truth over Heresyc. 1626
Oil on panel, 86 x 105 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
This picture shows one of the designs for the set of tapestries of the Triumph of the Eucharist. This series, too, was a royal commission, though here it was not royal absolutism which was glorified but the Church of Rome. The commission came from Archduchess Isabella, who ordered the set for the church of the Poor Clares' convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid.
In the designs illusionist elements were employed, blurring the distinction between the viewer's own sphere of reality and fiction: the pictures are presented on canvases painted in trompe l'oeil, suspended by cherubs in an equally fictitious painted architectural frame. Each of the eleven 'tapestries within tapestries' shows a picture allegorizing, explaining and glorifying the Eucharist.