We were lucky enough to receive in our gallery Rubens' masterpiece "Portrait of a man as a Mars god" from the prestigious Fisch Davidson collection, returning to Belgium for the first time after 200 years...

Peter Paul Rubens was a Brabant painter of the Flemish Baroque school, born on 28 June 1577 in Siegen and died on 30 May 1640 in Antwerp.

With the help of a large workshop, Rubens produced a considerable body of work in various genres. He agreed to paint a large number of portraits, but instinctively more inclined to large works than to small curiosities, as he himself wrote, he paid little attention to details, which he did not paint in depth and drew with a few strokes. Indeed, he worked at his own extremely productive pace, producing 1,403 paintings according to Michel Jaffé’s catalogue.
During his lifetime, Rubens produced large religious projects, mythological paintings and important series of historical paintings.

“Portrait of a man as the god Mars” – Rubens

The identity of the man Rubens portrayed in this portrait is still unknown to this day, his existence is perpetuated by this painting. This painting also stands out because it comes from the prestigious Fisch Davidson collection, whose other important paintings were sold last month in a “white glove sale” during Sotheby’s Masters Week in New York.

In this painting we see how Rubens blends his deep knowledge of literature and classical art with the precision of Flemish art and a deep respect for Titian and the Italian Renaissance, fundamentally rewriting the language of 17th-century Flemish painting.

On Tuesday 21 February, Sotheby’s invited the public to discover Rubens’ “Portrait of a Man as a Mars God”.

Dressed in a richly decorated helmet and armour, the man looks the viewer in the eye. A gentle gaze, perhaps surprised to attract so much interest almost 400 years after Rubens immortalised the painting.

Sotheby’s will auction the painting in New York in May.