Exhibition ‘Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist’

Exhibition ‘Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist’

Peter Paul Rubens excelled at devising captivating large-scale compositions. During the mid-1620s, he designed a series of monumental tapestries for the devout Infanta Isabel celebrating the spiritual victory of the Roman Catholic Church. This exhibition unites the exhilarating designs in the collection of the Prado Museum, painted in oil on wood panel, with the magnificent tapestries-rare loans from the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid. Characterized by exuberant energy, clever visual illusions, and an astonishing array of figures, the Eucharist series is one of the wonders of the Baroque period.

The 20 pieces that constituted the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia's gift to the convent may have been woven over a span of several years, from about 1625 to 1633. The tapestries were woven in Brussels by two of the most prominent tapestry workshops, headed by Jan Raes I and Jacob Geubels II, with the assistance of two other weavers.

Rubens was a leading tapestry designer, and the Eucharist series was the third and largest series of his career. Making no concessions to the weavers, Rubens designed complex scenes with illusionistic effects in the manner of large-scale paintings. Large expanses of bare flesh, often in dynamic, foreshortened poses, challenged weavers to create volume with gradations of delicate hues for modeling. His demanding compositions advanced tapestry production toward a more pictorial effect.

After the Getty, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from February 15, 2015 through May 10, 2015.

Consult the thematic collection presentation on 'Church and Counter Reformation'.

Exhibition Spectacular Rubens: The Triumph of the Eucharist
October 14 2014 - January 11 2015
The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

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(News item September 25 2014)