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Peter Paul Rubens, 'Modello' for the Assumption of the Virgin, c. 1622 - 1625

This is not a finished painting, but an oil sketch. Rubens made it as a ‘modello’, or design, for an enormous altarpiece in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. It was intended to show his plans to his patrons.

Rubens depicted the Virgin’s ascent into heaven as a swirling movement. From the stone sarcophagus, the Virgin floats heavenwards in a cloud of angels, where she is to be crowned. Dynamism is added to the scene by Rubens’ rapid, powerful brushstrokes.

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