Artist: Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp)
Date: early or mid-1630s
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 69 1/2 x 82 1/2 in. (176.5 x 209.6 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of James Henry Smith, 1902
Accession Number: 02.24
An ecstatic Saint Francis adores the infant Christ, who appears in this warm-hearted vision with the Virgin Mary, her mother Saint Anne, a subdued Saint Joseph, and a playful young Saint John the Baptist. Rubens made a number of modifications in the course of work, intensifying the friar’s impetuous movement and revising the Virgin’s pose from a formal profile to a casual expansiveness. Two other versions are in the Royal Collection and the San Diego Museum of Art. American taste was slow to embrace the exuberant emotionalism of Rubens; this is the first of his works to enter an American public collection.