The finished canvas depicting The Flagellation of Christ painted by Peter Paul Rubens in c. 1617 hangs in the Antwerp church of St Paul, formerly the church of the Dominicans. Rubens made this modello (oil sketch) that is kept in the Ghent museum in preparation for his monumental painting. His expressive idiom show to beautiful advantage on this small panel: there is a stark contrast between the suffering body of Christ and his brutal torturers. The Antwerp canvas is part of a series of 15 works of art by eleven artists, all of which have been preserved. The other artists include Maerten de Vos, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. The series is devoted to the so-called "Mysteries of the Rosary" and is still hanging in the same place for which it was made, a rarity these days.
In the age of Rubens, there were several stages in the process of producing a painting. Between being commissioned for a painting and its completion, the first stage was frequently a quick sketch or "crabbelingh". Next, the artist would often make a more elaborate sketch in oils, like this example. For an artist such as Rubens, this sketch was the most important stage of the process. In his eyes, the concept, which he called the "vinding" (literally, "finding", but better translated as "design") of a painting was essential. This concept was laid down in an oil sketch or modello. After the modello, the painter would make all sorts of detail studies, e.g. of heads and architectural details. Rubens, and many other masters, often let their workshop assistants and collaborators execute parts of the actual painting.
SizeH: 37,4 cm
MediumOil on panel