Known for his lush portraits of nobility and his grand, dramatic portrayals of mythological, historical, and Biblical scenes, Rubens (1577-1640) was a prolific painter who was knighted in Spain and England for his service to the crown. He painted many minor, preparatory sketches for his larger works, and though these works were originally cast-offs, they are now highly valuable.
Sotheby’s is offering a chalk drawing by Rubens at their upcoming Old Masters Drawings auction. The work, Nude Study of a Young Man with Raised Arms, is being sold by a member of the Dutch royal family, and is estimated at $2.5-3.5 million. Members of the Dutch parliament have raised objections to the sale, insisting that local museums should have the opportunity to purchase the work before an international sale, in order to keep their cultural patrimony at home. The Prime Minister, however, stated that this was a private matter, and that the sale would continue uninhibited.