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Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - Antwerp 1640)

The Assumption of the Virgin c.1611-12

Oil on panel | 102.1 x 66.3 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405335

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This is an oil sketch entirely by Rubens’ own hand, which provided his studio with all they needed to paint an altarpiece of five times the scale. Before the final work was delivered, Rubens would again apply some touches of his own. In this case no altarpiece corresponds exactly to the design. Rubens’ composition is divided into two equal halves: the lower half shows twelve apostles and two women reacting to an empty tomb; the upper half shows Mary in heaven surrounded by angels.

Acquired by George IV in 1816, when Prince Regent