Art Collections Online

Aeneas in the Underworld

RUBENS, Sir Peter Paul (1577 - 1640)

Aeneas in the Underworld

Media: oil on panel

Size: 47.0 x 32.0 cm

Acquired: 1984; Purchase

Accession Number: NMW A 34

The Trojan warrior Aeneas has ventured into the Underworld in search of his dead father.  Horrified, he suddenly finds himself surrounded by phantoms.  This scene is taken from The Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil: 'Struck by a sudden terror Aeneas snatches up his sword and prepares the unsheathed steel against those approaching'. He recovers when he discovers that he is threatened only by incorporeal phantoms. Rubens was the most successful artist of his day.  Most of his large works were painted with help from workshop assistants, but he produced smaller sketches like this himself, to work out the composition for larger works. 


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