Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
DRAWINGS FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE DR. LUDWIG BURCHARD (LOTS 269-280) The following twelve drawings from the collection of Dr. Ludwig Burchard (1886-1960) epitomize his taste, interests and career. With a core of drawings by Rubens, including a superb double-sided sheet of studies for no fewer than four different paintings, the group also includes drawings by those who worked in Rubens's orbit, such as Anthony Van Dyck, Lucas Vorsterman and Abraham van Diepenbeeck. The inscriptions which appear on many of the sheets are of particular documentary interest, appropriate for the collection of so meticulous a scholar as Buchard; especially intriguing is the extensive fragment of a letter written by Rubens during his Italian sojourn of 1607. Yet the group proves that Dr. Burchard's interests in drawings went beyond Rubens: an elegant figure study bears witness to his interest in Jacques Bellange, an artist whom he was one of the first fully to appreciate. Born and educated in Germany, where he refined his eye in the print rooms of Dresden and Berlin, Dr. Burchard moved to London in 1935. His care as a record-keeper is evident from the mounts in which some of the drawings are presented, annotated with thoughts on attribution or comments from fellow scholars. His extensive archives of Rubens material, much of which he did not publish in his lifetime, form the basis of the epic Corpus Rubenianum, whose published volumes present thematically Rubens's extensive oeuvre. Many of the drawings in the following group are referred to in the Corpus: the chief drawing, the double-sided sheet with studies for The Abduction of Hippodameia and The Way to Calvary, is undoubtedly one of the most referenced, appearing in two volumes under three different numbers. We are grateful to Jeremy Wood and Anne-Marie Logan for their assistance in preparing the following catalogue entries.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)

A double-sided sheet of studies: Hippodameia abducted by the centaur Eurytion, and Hercules overcoming the river-god Achelous in the form of a bull (recto); Christ shown to the People, and The Way to Calvary (verso)

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
A double-sided sheet of studies: Hippodameia abducted by the centaur Eurytion, and Hercules overcoming the river-god Achelous in the form of a bull (recto); Christ shown to the People, and The Way to Calvary (verso)
with modern inscription 'Rubens Rape of the Sabines' at the extreme right edge, on a narrow strip of paper attached to the recto
red chalk (recto); red, black and white chalk (verso)
12¼ x 18¾ in. (31.1 x 46.5 cm.)
P.H. Lankrink (L. 2090).
J. Richardson, Sen. (L. 2184), with associated ink shelfmark 'Pp. 53' (recto).
T. Hudson (L. 2432).
Possibly Sir Joshua Reynolds (an inscription in red ink 'Lot 660' similar to that recorded in L. 3016a but not corresponding to the drawings listed under that lot number in the 1798 sale).
Ayerst H. Buttery, London.
L. Burchard, and by descent to the present owner.
C. Norris, 'The Rubens Exhibition at Amsterdam', The Burlington Magazine, LXIII, 1933, p. 230, no. 14.
L. Burchard and R.A. d'Hulst, Rubens Drawings, London, 1963, pp. 301-2, no. 191, illus. (recto and verso).
S. Alpers, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. IX. The Decoration of the Torre de la Parada, London and New York, 1971, pp. 67, 230-1, 278, no. 37a, fig. 137 (recto).
J.S. Held, The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens. A Critical Catalogue, Princeton, 1980, I, p. 281, under no. 196, p. 471, under no. 343 and p. 474.
J.R. Judson, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. VI. The Passion of Christ, Turnhout, 2000, pp. 84-85, no. 19a, figs. 38, 57 (both verso).
M. Díaz Padrón, El Siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1995, II, p. 908, illus. (recto).
Amsterdam, Goudstikker, Rubens-tentoonstelling, 1933, no. 99, illus., recto and verso.
Antwerp, Rubenshuis, Tekeningen van P.P. Rubens, 1956, no. 139.

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Lot Essay

This fascinating drawing shows studies for no fewer than four different compositions, which can be dated between 1632 and 1638.
Of the five separate groups of figures assembled on the recto, four are preparatory for the central group of The Abduction of Hippodameia, one of more than sixty paintings with mythological subjects commissioned from Rubens by King Philip IV of Spain for his hunting lodge of Torre de la Parada, on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace no longer exists, but the The Abduction of Hippodameia, along with other canvasses of the same cycle is today in the Museo del Prado (182 x 220 cm.; Alpers, op. cit., no. 37). There is also a spontaneous and attractive sketch for the composition in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels (26 x 40 cm.; Held, op. cit., no. 196).
The source of the subject is Ovid: when Pirithous, King of the Lapiths, married Hippodameia, the daughter of Adrastus, he invited to the wedding all the gods as well as his neighbours, the centaurs. Only Mars was not invited. In revenge, Mars decided to create a quarrel between the members of the party. The centaur Eurytion, intoxicated by wine as well as by desire, tried to abduct Hippodameia. A general battle ensued in which the Lapiths prevailed over the centaurs with the aid of Theseus and Hercules (represented holding a club in the present drawing).
None of the studies in the Burchard sheet corresponds exactly to the figures in the final painting or in the Brussels sketch, although the central one is the closest.
The spirited and vividly sketched Hercules and Achelous, lower right, cannot be related to any painting for the Torre de la Parada, but as other scenes on the life of Hercules were part of the decoration it seems likely that Rubens had at one point planned to include a composition of that subject.
The studies on the verso represent two scenes from the Passion of Christ. On the right is Christ shown to the People. On His right, a helmeted soldier seizes His mantle while Pilate stands to His left. In the bottom right corner of the drawing and much smaller in scale, Pilate is shown enthroned. Slightly to the left, the heads and shoulders of several figures are seen from behind. This sketch can be related, although in reverse and with differences, to an oil sketch, generally dated around 1632-5, in the Cramer Collection, The Hague (Held, op. cit., no. 343) for which no large painting is known to have existed or even to have been commissioned.
On the left Rubens has drawn two studies for The Way to Calvary. At the top, Christ is struggling along on the ground with the Cross supported above Him by two men placed behind it. He is pulled forward by a soldier who grasps His hair. The same scene is repeated, elaborated and enlarged beneath to include twelve figures, with Veronica kneeling to the right, behind Christ (the little bust-length sketch of a woman with arms raised, at the lower centre of the sheet, seems to be a study for the same figure). To her right is a group of women, including the Virgin wringing her hands in anguish. These sketches are early studies for one of Rubens's last great commissions, the main altar of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in the Benedictine Abbey at Affligem (now in Brussels, Royal Museums of Fine Arts; Judson, op. cit., no. 19). The very large painting (569 x 355 mm.) was executed between 1634 and 1637 and was prepared by means of at least three oil sketches. Of these, the Burchard drawing is closest to that in Brussels, widely considered to be the earliest (Held, op. cit., no. 346). The drawing and the Brussels sketch are in the same sense (the composition is reversed in the two other sketches and in the altarpiece) and in both Christ's hair is pulled from behind, an idea dropped in the subsequent paintings.
As Rubens did not receive the commission for the decoration of the Torre de la Parada before 1637, and he started to work on the Affligem altarpiece in 1634, it is likely that he first drew The Way to Calvary and Christ shown to the People. A possible reason for his deciding to use the other side of the sheet some time later, when he was working on his composition of The Abduction of Hippodameia, was his desire to reuse the figure holding Christ's hair on the left of his sketch of The Way to Calvary. It reappears almost unchanged on the recto as the figure of Hercules trying to free Hippodameia from the centaur Eurytion. This kind of transition from one idea to another, from one composition to another can be observed at least once more in the drawing. The group at the upper left on the recto, while certainly a study for Hippodameia and Eurytion, is quite close, although in reverse, to the group at the right in Rubens's Rape of the Sabines in the National Gallery, London, dated circa 1635-7.

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