recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

In 1611, Rubens submitted two oil sketches of the Assumption of the Virgin to the chapter of Antwerp Cathedral, hoping for the commission to paint the subject for the high altar of the church, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Although the commission was delayed, Rubens completed the altarpiece around 1612–14, finally securing a place for it in the new Jesuit Church. The studies on this sheet relate to two standing apostles at the far right of the large altarpiece. In the painting, Rubens transformed the young models of this drawing into mature, bearded men reacting with awe and astonishment to Mary’s ascent into heaven on a cloud ringed by a host of little angels.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish (Siegen, Westphalia 1577 - 1640 Antwerp, Belgium)
Studies for Apostles; verso: Study of Drapery
Work Type
c. 1611
Physical Descriptions
Black chalk on gray antique laid paper; verso: black chalk
35.2 x 25.9 cm (13 7/8 x 10 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower right, brown ink over black chalk: P. P. RUBENS
  • watermark: A hunting horn; unidentified
  • collector's mark: lower right and verso, lower center, black ink, stamp: L. 2090 (Prosper Henry Lankrink)
  • collector's mark: lower right, black ink, stamp: L. 2184 (Jonathan Richardson, Sr.)
  • collector's mark: lower left, black ink, stamp: L. 2432 (Thomas Hudson)
  • inscription: verso, lower left, black chalk (?): PPR
  • collector's mark: lower left, black ink, stamp: L. 2364 (Joshua Reynolds)
  • blind stamp: lower left, blind stamp: L. 2445 (Thomas Lawrence)
  • inscription: former mount, gold typeface: PETER PAUL RUBENS / 1577-1640 / 97
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, black ink, stamp: L. 640 (Charles Sackville Bale)
Prosper Henry Lankrink, London (L. 2090, lower right and verso, lower center). Jonathan Richardson, Sr., London (L. 2184, lower right), sold; [Cock, London, 22 January 1747 and following days, twelfth night’s sale, probably part of lot 20]; Thomas Hudson, London (L. 2432, lower left). Joshua Reynolds, London (L. 2364, lower left). Thomas Lawrence, London (L. 2445, lower left). Charles Sackville Bale, London (L. 640, verso, lower right), sold; [Christie's, London, 9-14 June 1881, lot 2445). Henry Oppenheimer, London, sold; [Christie’s, London, 10, 13-14 July 1936, lot 303]; via [P&D Colnaghi, London] to Fogg Art Museum (purchased through the generosity of The Honorable and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss); Gift of The Honorable and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss, 1936.123

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of The Honorable and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

The Vasari Society for the Reproduction of Drawings by Old Masters, Oxford University Press (NY) and Oxford University Press (UK) (Oxford, England, 1905 - 1935), second series, part II, no. 13, pp. 25 (small brochure) and 9 (large brochure), repr. pl. 13

Sir Martin Conway, ed., Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art. A Memorial Volume., exh. cat., Country Life Ltd. and Anglo-Belgian Union (London, England, 1927), cat. no. 579, p. 205

Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art 1300-1900, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts (London, 1927), cat. no. 579, p. 170

E. Beck, “The Oppenheimer Collection of Drawings”, Art News (April 14, 1928), vol. 26, no. 28, pp. 39-43, p. 39, repr. p. 42

Gustav Glück and Franz Martin Haberditzl, Die Handzeichnungen von Peter Paul Rubens, Julius Bard (Berlin, Germany, 1928), cat. no. 127, pp. 45-6, repr. pl. 127

E. Beck, "The Oppenheimer Collection in the Saleroom in London", Art News (30 May 1936), vol. 34, no. 35, pp. 5-7, p. 7

Catalogue of the Famous Collection of Old Master Drawings Formed by the Late Henry Oppenheimer, Esq., F.S.A., auct. cat., Christie's, London (London, July 10, 1936 - July 14, 1936), lot 303

Agnes Mongan, "A Gift of Old Master Drawings", Bulletin of the Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, March 1937), vol. VI, no. 2, pp. 22-34, pp. 30-31, repr. fig. 8

Tancred Borenius and Rudolf Wittkower, Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings by the Old Masters formed by Sir Robert Mond, G. E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode (London, n.d. [1937]), under cat. no. 369, p. 97

Agnes Mongan and Paul J. Sachs, Drawings in the Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1940), vol. 1, cat. no. 484, p. 251, repr. vol. 2, fig. 250 (recto)

Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held, Rubens in America, Pantheon Books (New York and Antwerp, 1947), cat. no. 105, p. 42, repr pl. 105

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, checklist, Unpublished (1954), cat. no. 17, p. 4

Agnes Mongan, Drawings & Oil Sketches: Rubens from American Collections, exh. cat., President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA, 1956), cat. no. 21, pp. 22-23, repr. pl. XI

Dr. Ludwig Burchard and Roger A. d'Hulst, Tekeningen van P.P. Rubens, exh. cat., Uitgeverij Ontwikkeling (Antwerp, 1956), cat. no. 54, pp. 59-60

Otto Benesch, Jan Gerrit van Gelder, and Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Great Drawings of All Time [vol. 2: German, Flemish and Dutch], ed. Ira Moskowitz, Shorewood Publishers Inc. (New York, 1962), cat. no. 525, n.p., repr.

Colin T. Eisler, Drawings of the Masters: Flemish and Dutch Drawings from the 15th to the 18th century, Shorewood Publishers Inc. (New York, NY, 1963), repr. p. 29, fig. 7

Fogg Art Museum, Studies and Study Sheets: Master Drawings from Five Centuries, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1964), cat. no. 33, n.p.

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, 1967), n.p.

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1967), cat. no. 20, n.p.

Mrs. Colles Baxter Larkin, "Rubens: A Variety of Interests" (unpublished manuscript, Fogg Art Museum, 1974). Typewritten brochure that accompanied the exhibition of the same title at the Fogg Art Museum, 23 May - 30 June 1974., cat. no. 19, n.p.

Klaus Demus, Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640: Ausstellung zur 400. Wiederkehr seines Geburtstages, exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna, 1977), under cat. no. 16, p. 68

Marianne Bernhard, ed., Rubens Handzeichnungen, Südwest Verlag GmbH & Co. (Munich, 1977), p. 329, repr.

Veronika Birke and Christian Dittrich, Die Albertina und das Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett: Meisterzeichnungen aus zwei alten Sammlungen: eine Ausstellung mit der Graphischen Sammlung Albertina Wien, exh. cat., Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden, 1978), under cat. no. 86, p. 87

David Freedberg, The Life of Christ after the Passion, Harvey Miller and Oxford University Press (UK) (London and New York, 1984), no. 37d (recto), pp. 155-56, and 37e (verso) p. 156, and under no. 37b, p. 154, repr. figs. 95 and 96

Christian Dittrich, Van Eyck, Bruegel, Rembrandt. niederländische Zeichnungen des 15. bis 17. Jahrhunderts aus dem Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden, exh. cat., Edition Minerva (Eurasburg, 1997), under cat. no. 68, p. 152

Klaus Albrecht Schröder, ed., Peter Paul Rubens, exh. cat., Albertina (Vienna, 2004), p. 111 and 117 (n. 113)

Anne-Marie Logan and Michiel C. Plomp, Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings, exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art / Yale University Press (New York/New Haven and London, 2004), pp. 55 and 59 (n. 115), and under cat nos. 41-43, p. 160 (n. 9)

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 16, 252; cat. no. 75, pp. 253-256, repr. p. 254 (recto) and 255 (verso); watermark p. 380

Exhibition History

Old Master Drawings, Unknown Venues, 10/01/1949 - 06/30/1950

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1954 - 04/30/1954

Drawings & Oil Sketches by P. P. Rubens from American Collections, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/14/1956 - 02/29/1956; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 03/20/1956 - 04/28/1956

Tekeningen van P.P. Rubens, Rubenshuis, 06/16/1956 - 09/02/1956

Studies and Study Sheets, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 03/26/1964 - 04/18/1964

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05/08/1967 - 06/11/1967

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

Rubens: A Variety of Interests, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/23/1974 - 06/30/1974

Calming the Tempest with Peter Paul Rubens, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/22/2001 - 03/17/2002

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

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