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ITALIAN SCHOOL. Conococo RUBENS.
THE ELEVATION OF THE CROSS.
Rubens was commissioned to paint this picture of the Elevation of the Cross, on his return from Italy, just after he bad studied the Carracci. It was then intended to adorn the high altar of the church of St. Walburge at Antwerp. A long time the pride of that church, it was afterwards brought to Paris, in 1796; and remained in the Museum until 1815. It now is in the Antwerp Cathedral, as the companion to the famous Descent of the Cross, which was given under no. 45.
Like the latter picture, and according to the custom then in vogue, the principal subject is accompanied by two shutters, the one representing the holy women, and the other officers on horseback, ordering the punishment of the two thieves. It is asserted that the figure of the dog, placed in the fore-ground of the picture, was not inserted till 1627, at the request of the curate of the parish who thought that that part presented too much of an empty space.
This picture has been engraved by C. L. Masquelier, for the Museum published by Filhol : the print done by Wittedoee was engraved from a sketch which presents some deviations.
Height 13 feet 10 inches; width 10 feet 7 inches.