Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens
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The Workings of the Studio: Head Studies, Portrait and Genre
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Peter Paul Rubens
Sketch for a Portrait of a Family (Peter Paul Rubens and Hélène Fourment, with Nicolaas and Clara Johanna Rubens), ca. 1632
Oil on panel, 35.5 x 38.2 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917, inv. J#622

Catalog Entry by Marjorie E. Wieseman

At the center of this family grouping is a young mother, seated in a low chair and clasping a sleeping infant to her lap. She wears a short jacket over a voluminous skirt; her crimped hair is demurely covered by a coif. The child sprawls heavily in its slumbers, its head and left hand nestled sweetly at the mother's breast. Standing behind and to the left is a boy, who leans over the back of the chair with legs casually crossed. To the right is a bearded man wearing a hat, seen in three-quarter view; the cloaked mass of his body is summarily indicated with a few strokes of the brush...

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