The Descent from the Cross

"The Descent from the Cross" is the central panel of a triptych painting by Peter Paul Rubens in 1612-1614. The painting is the second of Rubens's great altarpieces for the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp. The subject was one Rubens returned to again and again in his career. This particular work was commissioned on September 7, 1611, by the Confraternity of the Arquebusiers, whose Patron Saint was St. Christopher. Although essentially Baroque, the oil on panel piece is rooted in the Venetian tradition, and likely influenced by the work of Federico Barocci and Cigoli, amongst others. [Białostocki, Jan. "The Descent from the Cross in Works by Peter Paul Rubens and His Studio". "The Art Bulletin", Volume 46, No. 4, December 1964. 511-524] In its composition and use of light, the triptych recalls Caravaggio's Roman period.

Sequentially, the triptych describes the Visitation, the Descent from the Cross, and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.


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