RUBENS, Peter Paul
Christ between the Two Thieves
Rubens is most well known as the painter of feminine beauty and for his princely portraits of all of the courts in Europe. His contribution to the field of religious painting is also of great importance. Upon his return from Italy in 1608, Rubens was asked to produce many paintings for the altars of Antwerp churches to replace those destroyed in the iconoclastic troubles of the end of the 16th century. The painting in Toulouse comes from the Church of the Capuchins in Antwerp. The choice of a wooden panel is unusual for such a large format. The contrast between Christ’s pale complexion and the earthy skin of the thieves is one of Rubens’ strongest ideas. The desperate expression of Jesus on the cross and the passionate pain of Mary Magdalene add a note of poignant emotion.