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

Descent from the Cross

Oil on canvas, 297 x 200 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

After the success of the altar triptych Descent from the Cross that Rubens painted for the Antwerp Cathedral in 1612, he produced several variants with his pupils, for different churches. In the present one, which adorned the Capuchin church in Lierre, the composition has undergone significant changes. The artist reduced the number of figures and increased the scale of Christ, focusing all the attention on his body and the kinsfolk and disciples, who do not so much support him as simply touch his body.