Clare and Kate have published a digital interactive article illustrating Rubens’s complex creative process in the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. The article explores the Courtauld Gallery’s Conversion of Saint Paul series, which comprise a compositional drawing, an oil sketch, and a finished painting, using improved imaging techniques to highlight Rubens’s extremely fluid approach to the development of the design. Their findings suggest a much longer gestation of these ideas than the 1610–1612 date proposed, and cast light on Rubens’s broader working practice and his ceaseless striving for aesthetic perfection, combined with a pragmatic approach to the reuse and reworking of his compositions. Complex compositional changes are revealed using X-ray, infrared, transmitted, and raking light as well as microscopic examination and can be explored using enhanced image tools and navigation. Readers can compare works of art with their technical images using the “IIIF multi-mode viewer” to better understand Rubens’s artistic exploration of ideas and aid their own research.
To read this open access research go to: https://jhna.org/articles/rubens-the-conversion-of-saint-paul/