RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

The Martyrdom of St Stephen

Oil on canvas, 437 x 278 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes

This painting, the centre panel of a triptych, was commissioned by the rich Benedictine Abbey Saint-Amand, near Valenciennes. In open state the triptych shows the martyrdom of St Stephen (centre) and scenes from the saint's life. When the wings are closed an Annunciation can be seen on the reverse of the side wings.