We're at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this morning for a preview of The Wrath of the Gods: Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo and Titian which opens on September 12 and continues through December 6.
The exhibition includes Rubens' monumental work, Prometheus Bound.
This unprecedented exhibition places the work—one of the most important and beloved in the Museum’s collection—in conversation with paintings, drawings, and prints that inspired it. Highlights include Michelangelo’sTityus, perhaps the artist’s most famous drawing, and Titian’s Tityus, the largest nonreligious painting on canvas of the Renaissance. The Wrath of the Gods brings together these and other pivotal works, offering a fresh opportunity to delve into the creative process of one of art history’s most important figures.
Despite the significance of Rubens’s masterpiece, described by the artist himself as “the flower of my stock,” no exhibition has ever been devoted to it. The Wrath of the Gods shows how the artist’s talent for creating images bursting with physicality, movement, and color was profoundly shaped by the work of Italian Renaissance greats Michelangelo and Titian as well as antique sculpture, especially the Vatican’s famed Laocoön. During his extensive travels, Rubens studied these compelling examples firsthand, analyzing their figures, subject matter, and compositions and merging them with own Baroque sensibilities.
To further explore Rubens’s sources of inspiration, the exhibition also presents an 1805 full-scale cast of The Laocoön, on loan from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and works by northern European artists Hendrik Goltzius and Michiel Coxcie, whose painting Cain and Abel debuts in Philadelphia as a newly rediscovered treasure after a recent cleaning by the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Other key works include Snyders’s sketch for Prometheus Bound’s menacing eagle and Jacob Jordaens’s Prometheus, one of the greatest artistic responses to Rubens’s masterpiece.