HERMITAGE, Descent From The Cross By Rubens Room 247

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English / USA Language: English / USA

In this room, you’ll find several paintings by the great Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. His skill was such that during his life he was already known as "Prince of Painters and Painter of Princes". A prolific artist, Rubens devoted his efforts to virtually all genres and subjects, including portraits, landscapes and historical paintings with mythological, allegorical and biblical themes, all of which can be admired in the Hermitage collection.

One of the most representative paintings on display here is undoubtedly the Descent from the Cross, painted by Rubens around 1618, in typical Baroque style. This work portrays the most dramatic and dynamic moment of this tragic event, when Jesus is taken down from the cross, with his pale, illuminated body still suspended between heaven and earth. Together with the white shroud, with splashes of blood, Christ is the center of the work, intensified by the ring of five people surrounding him with their outstretched hands and their eyes focused on his motionless body.

Observe John the Evangelist in his vibrant red tunic, Mary Magdalene with her long blonde hair and sumptuously decorated pink robe, and the solemn figure of the Virgin Mary, gently supporting the body of Christ. The whole scene seems to be engulfed in the darkness surrounding the group, creating a dramatic, austere work, a painting that conveys sadness and emotional devastation.

 

Now press pause and press play again in front of the romantic painting Perseus and Andromeda.

 

 

This work illustrates the famous legend of the hero Perseus, who meets Andromeda, falls in love with her, asks her to marry him and finally frees her from the sea monster that was about to devour her. In the painting, you can see one of the cherubs loosening the girl's ropes, another handing the shield to Perseus - taking care to avoid the gaze of Medusa, who could turn him to stone - and a third securing Pegasus, the famous winged horse.

 

 

An interesting fact: according to Greek mythology, it is thanks to Perseus that we have red coral today. Legend has it that when the hero laid the shield with the head of Medusa on the ground, a few drops of blood fell into the water, creating the beautiful red corals.

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