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'In kompagnie geordonneert en geschildert'. Een onderzoek naar de ontstaansgeschiedenis van het Aardse Paradijs van Peter Paul Rubens en Jan Brueghel d.O

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image of Oud Holland - Journal for Art of the Low Countries

Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens: what was their respective contributions to Adam and Eve in Paradise, the painting in the Mauritshuis at The Hague the two artists produced in collaboration? Early eighteenth-century authors such as Houbraken and Weyerman assumed their shares were equal, but opinions differ considerably in scholarly art-historical literature. In order to gain more insight into the nature of the collaboration, Adam and Eve in Paradise, is first compared with other joint efforts by the two artists. A second approach is to examine the pictorial sources used for (elements of) the painting. Finally tracing the genesis of the work step by step from the purchase of the panel to the placement of the signature yields information about the progress of the collaboration. What the examination of the painted surface of Adam and Eve in Paradise reveals about the sequence of the operation is in accordance with what can be deduced from Jan Brueghel the Younger's diary entries about works for which another figure painter was recruited. It confirms that Jan Brueghel the Elder must have been the initiator and seller of the The Hague painting. But it is Rubens' artistry that makes the painting unique, and his contribution to the composition is particularly evident from the pictorial sources. The whole is more than merely the sum of the parts painted by the two artists: it is a genuine partnership, which must have involved mutual consultation.


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