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The Assumption of the Virgin Mary Peter Paul Rubens


In 1711 the Elector acquired this monumental altarpiece from the church of Notre Dame de la Chapelle in Brussels for his legendary collection of Paintings in Düsseldorf City Castle. He had the extremely heavy panel moved by ship via the Rhine. The marble panel, likewise designed by Rubens, remained in St. Josse-ten-Noode nr. Brussels. Rubens has the Queen of Heaven rise up triumphantly, flanked by angels, while below the ‘Miracle of The Roses’ unfolds. According to an early legend, Mary’s tomb was opened, and instead of a corpse, the women and the Apostles found fragrant roses. At the peak of his powers, Rubens created the many-figured, dynamic scene as a response to Titian’s marvelous Assunta in the Frari Church in Venice. It is the seventh of some 14 variations on the theme that were painted by Rubens and his studio as altarpieces or oil models between 1611 and 1637. The panel is an expression of the new cult of St. Mary in the southern Netherlands and of the Counter-Reformation as pursued by the Catholic Church. (Bettina Baumgärtel)

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