CRAYER, Gaspard de
Job Tormented by his Wife
It is in Rubens’ workshop, where the best painters of Antwerp (Van Dyck, Jordaens, etc.) are trained, that the rise of Baroque painting in Flanders begins. In his own manner Crayer takes up a lost composition by Rubens on the theme of Job, lying on a dunghill. In a landscape of ruins, he seems resigned to his fate and suffers the insults of his wife, represented as a shrew. The piece was painted in 1619 for the Cathedral of Saint Bavon in Ghent. Its original shape was arched but the top angles were added so that it fit into a rectangular altar. Job, a symbol of enduring belief despite everything, was often invoked during plague epidemics. Crayer gave his subject a universal resonance by depicting highly contrasting characters, composing a scene at once alive and grave, an excellent example of persuasive painting intended for the faithful, following the precepts of the Counter-Reformation.