Peter Paul Rubens - Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, about 1629-1630

Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Germany, 1577 - 1640, Antwerp, Belgium)

Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, about 1629-1630

Oil on canvas, 122.2 x 102.1 cm (48 1/8 x 40 3/16 in.)

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Object details

Accession number

P21s15

Provenance

Probably commissioned by the sitter, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), London; Arundel Castle, Sussex, about 1629-30.
Collection of the artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) until the time of his death.
Collection of Francis Greville, 1st Earl of Warwick (1719-1773), and Countess Elizabeth Hamilton (d. 1800), London; Warwick Castle, Warwick by 1763.
By descent to George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1746–1816), London; Warwick Castle, Warwick, about 1773.
By descent to Henry Richard Greville, 3rd Earl of Warwick (1779–1853), Warwick Castle, Warwick, about 1816
By descent to George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick (1818–1893); Warwick Castle, Warwick, about 1853.
By descent to Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick (1853-1924); Warwick Castle, Warwick, about 1893.
Purchased by the art dealers Colnaghi & Co., London from Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville in 1898.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Colnaghi & Co., London for £21,000 in March 1898, through the American art historian Bernard Berenson (1865–1959).

Dimension Notes

Frame: 173 x 142.7 cm (68 1/8 x 56 3/16 in.) approx.

Bibliography

John A. Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, Vol. II (London, 1830), pp. 307-308, no. 1128.
Catalogue of the Works of Art in the Possession of Sir Peter Paul Rubens at the Time of his Decease... (Yarmouth, 1839), p. 7.
Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain, Vol. III (London, 1854), p. 213, no. 1.
G. Sharf. Catalogue of the Art Treasures of the United Kingdom. Exh. cat. (Manchester: City of Manchester Art Gallery, 1857), p. 117, no. 107.
Catalogue of the First Special Exhibition of National Portraits Ending with the Reign of King James the Second. Exh. cat. (London: South Kensington Museum, 1866), p. 122, no. 723.
Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters, Associated with Works of Deceased Masters of the British School. Exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, 1871), p. 16. no. 158.
Exhibition of the Works by the Old Masters and by Deceased Masters of the British School... (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1889), p. 39, no. 169.
Max Rooses. L'Oeuvre de P.P. Rubens: Histoire et Descriptions de ses Tableux et Dessins (Antwerp, 1890), p. 128, no. 890, pl. 282.
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 14.
John La Farge and August F. Jaccaci. Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections, Vol. I (New York, 1979), pp. 130-31, ill.
Henri Hymans. "The Critical Essays" in John La Farge and August F. Jaccaci. Noteworthy Paintings in American Private Collections, Vol. I (New York, 1979), pp. 222-23.
Mary F.S. Hervey. The Life, Correspondence and Collections of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (Cambridge, 1921), p. 282, pl. I.
Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925), p. 169.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 185, pl. 16.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of the Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 307-11, ill.
Stuart Preston. "Thomas Howard" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 48.
Ruth Saunders Magurn (ed.). Letters of Peter Paul Rubens (Evanston, 1955), p. 320-321.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann. Drawings from the Clark Art Institute, Volume I: The Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, 1964), p.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 41 (7 Jun. 1964), p. 2.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 42 (14 Jun. 1964), p. 2.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 43 (21 Jun. 1964), p. 2.
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 154-55, ill.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 212-15, ill and pl. XXVIII.
Frances Huemer. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, XIX, Vol. 1. Portraits Painted in Foreign Countries (1977), pp. 89-91, 107-109, no. 5, figs. 52, 55.
John Walsh Jr. "Paintings in the Dutch Room" in James Thomas Herbert Baily (ed.). The Connoisseur: An Illustrated Magazine for Collectors, "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum" (London, 1978), pp. 53-57, fig. 6.
Ernest Samuels. Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur (Cambridge, 1979), p. 247.
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 1981), pp. 78-79, ill.
David Howarth. Lord Arundel and His Circle (New Haven, 1985), pp. 152-53.
David Howarth et al. Patronage and Collecting in the Seventeenth Century: Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel. Exh. cat. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1985), p. 9, fig. 1, no. 1.
Philipp P. Fehl. "The Ghost of Homer: Observation on Rubens's Portrait of the Earl of Arundel." Fenway Court (1987), pp. 6-23.
Lindsay Stainton and Christopher White. Drawing in England from Hilliard to Hogarth (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 67-68.
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 58-60, 113-14, 116, 120-23, 203, 206.
Christopher White. Peter Paul Rubens: Man & Artist (New Haven, 1987), pp. 224-25, fig. 247.
Jeffrey M. Muller. Rubens: The Artist as Collector (Princeton, 1989), p. 60.
Walter A. Liedtke in Guy C. Bauman and Walter A. Liedtke (eds.). Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America (Antwerp, 1992), pp. 203-205.
Peter C. Sutton et al. The Age of Rubens. Exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1993), pp. 294-97, ill.
Christopher White. Anthony van Dyck: Thomas Howard, The Earl of Arundel (Malibu, 1995), pp. 69-70, fig. 50.
Kristin Lohse Belkin. Rubens (London, 1998), p. 222.
David Freeberg. "Rubens and Titian: Art and Politics" in Hilliard T. Goldfarb et al. Titian and Rubens: Power, Politics and Style. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1998), pp. 52-54
Judy Egerton in Christopher Brown and Hans Vlieghe (eds.). Van Dyck: 1599-1641. Exh. cat. (Antwerp: Koninklijk Muuseum voor Schone Kunsten, 1999), pp. 300, 302, fig. 2.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 131, 138-39, ill.
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), p. 81.
Dominique Jacquot. Rubens, Portraits princiers (Paris: Musée du Luxembourg, 2017), pp. 60-61, fig. 51.


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Commentary

Rubens was one of the most illustrious painters in the history of Western art. Perpetually on the road, he served four European rulers, including Charles I of England. Rubens painted this portrait of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, at the height of his professional career. Because Arundel acquired art on a princely scale, he was given the nickname “the collector earl.”

Gardner herself paid a princely sum for this Rubens, making it her single most expensive acquisition after Titian’s Rape of Europa. Berenson, knowing that this painting would be another major addition to her collection, wrote to her, “you now have one of the great Titians; Arundel will be a match for it.”

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