Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens
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Rubens as Entrepreneur: Designs for Sculpture, Architecture and Prints
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Peter Paul Rubens
St. Norbert Overcoming Tanchelm, ca. 1622-23
Oil on panel, 66.5 x 46 cm
Private collection

Catalog Entry by Peter C. Sutton

Tanchelm was an early-twelfth-century critic of the Catholic Church, denying the authority of bishops and the clergy, opposing tithing, and even claiming that the sacrament of the Eucharist was ineffectual for salvation. His heresy was particularly successful in Antwerp and the surrounding countryside. St. Norbert (c. 1080-1134) was the founder of the Premonstratensian (or Norbertine) order that combated Tanchelm's heresy. Traveling to Antwerp with twelve of his order, he took over St. Michael's church and reinstituted the orthodox celebration of the Eucharist. Eventually the heresy was suppressed and St. Michael's became one of the most powerful religious institutions in the city. For his defense of the sacrament of the Eucharist and the offices of the Church, Norbert was canonized in 1582 and became the object of impassioned veneration in Counter-Reformation Antwerp. (For images of St. Norbert and discussion of his struggle with the Tanchelmian heresy, see exh. cat. Averbode, Abdij der Norbertijnen, Sint Nobertus in de Brabantse Kunst, 1971; Held 1980, vol. 1, pp. 577-78; and Wieseman, in Boston/Toledo 1993-94, p. 285 and n. 1)...

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