The Feast of Herod
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Flanders, 17th century
The Feast of Herod
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pen and brown ink, with black and red chalk, touched with white gouache
beige(2) laid paper, perimeter mounted to a false margin of beige(1) wove paper
Sheet: 27.2 x 47.2 cm (10 11/16 x 18 9/16 in.); Secondary Support: 27.6 x 47.3 cm (10 7/8 x 18 5/8 in.)
During the 1600s, drawings were indispensible in large studios. In addition to being preparations for paintings, they were used by studio assistants to aid the master and were copied by pupils. Extremely cautious, Rubens guarded his drawings like studio secrets from competitors who could exploit them for their own compositions. Striking in its immediacy, this drawing is a preparatory study for a painting now at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Herod, wearing a large cap and wrapped in a mantle, shrinks back in horror as Salome uncovers a charger that holds the head of Saint John the Baptist. In the most chilling detail, Herodias, seated at the far side of the table, gestures toward the charger with a fork in her right hand.
by artist, upper center, in brown ink: de Herodias [wat hooger? (or: "meden hoofte," "wat hoegte," or "wat hogher")]; by artist, lower right, in brown ink: den[or: deze] stoel te [cort?].
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Collection: DR - Flemish
Provenance: Unidentified collector (Lugt 622, verso, lower right, in black ink, probably Austrian collection c. 1800); English private collection (According to Burchard and d'Hulst, Antwerp, 1956); [Herbert N. Bier]. Purchased by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1954.
Delia E. Holden and L. E. Holden Funds
Image and original data from The Cleveland Museum of Art
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