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

The Chariot of Apollo

1620s
Oil on oak panel, 99 x 73 cm
Private collection

This sketch painted in oil on panel is Rubens' spirited interpretation of a ceiling fresco designed by Francesco Primaticcio for a room in the Galerie d'Ulysse at the royal château of Fontainebleau, now destroyed. Primaticcio's own design, which places Apollo's chariot directly above the head of the viewer, survives only in the form of a red chalk drawing preserved at the Louvre, Paris. The source of inspiration for this audacious di sotto in sù composition can be found in a ceiling painting by Giulio Romano in the Camera del Sole e della Luna, a small room at Palazzo del Tè, Mantua.




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