This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2017
"Head of an Old Man" c.1609-1610
CRE RUBENS, Peter Paul, Sir; (Flemish; 1577-1640)
oil on oak panel
56.5 x 48.3 oval
79.0 x 69.0
The painting was originally rectangular and was probably altered to fit its fine French
The panel bears an Antwerp panel maker's mark on the verso. It also bears two ?French seals, an oval shield with a sun in splendour, a Count's coronet and two ermine spots; a semi round shield with a chevron between three ermine spots, a helmet with an open visor with five bars and branches of laurel and palm as exterior ornaments.
434/3 HELD, Julius, S. 1980 The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens, I, Princeton University Press
From the founder, William Hunter's collection. This spontaneous oil sketch is one of Rubens's many head studies, and one of five such studies in Hunter's collection. Using well prepared panels, Rubens recorded idealised character types, often old, bearded and distinguished men, and these heads form templates for the protagonists sometimes in several different compositions. This old man makes his best known appearance as the central and senior of the Kings (Melchior) in the Adoration of the Magi (Prado), which was commissioned by the City of Antwerp in 1609/10, which is the likely date of the execution of the panel. A few years later, Rubens reused this head for an Apostle in the painting Christ and the Adulteress (Brussels); there are at least three further known uses of the head in Rubens's work. In the period after Rubens's death, it was possibly the best known of Rubens's head studies, and 13 copies are known. One of the copies (Dayton, Ohio) records the appearance of the panel before a second head was removed. Cutting occurred with several of the head study panels, and it allowed the creation of two marketable paintings of saints from panels which were created as studio tools not as separate works of art. The image of the head is recorded in a drawing by Van Dyck at Chatsworth, and engraved in one of the sheets of Pontius's (unpublished) Livre a dessiner. The painting was originally rectangular and was probably altered to fit its fine French Louis XIV frame. The panel bears the Antwerp brand and a panel maker's mark which has yet to be identified.
Bequeathed by Dr William Hunter, 1783
PORTRAIT : HEAD : ADORATION OF THE MAGI : OLD MAN : STUDY : APOSTLE : SAINT PETER : OIL SKETCH : HUNTER 2007 : NIRP2005 : NIRP2005 : ON DISPLAY :