Daniel in the Lion’s Den (c. 1615) by Peter Paul Rubens

Daniel in the Lion's Den - Peter Paul Rubens - c.1615

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Artwork Information

TitleDaniel in the Lion's Den
ArtistPeter Paul Rubens
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions224.3 x 330.4 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

About Daniel in the Lion's Den

The artwork titled “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” is a Baroque era oil on canvas painting by the artist Peter Paul Rubens, created Circa 1615. It is a large piece with dimensions of approximately 224.3 by 330.4 centimeters. As a religious painting, it is currently housed in the National Gallery of Art, located in Washington, D.C.

The artwork vividly depicts a scene of Daniel, a prominent biblical figure, situated amidst a group of lions. Daniel is positioned centrally and is shown looking upwards, presumably toward divine salvation, with his hands clasped in prayer. His expression conveys a sense of calm and trust despite the potentially perilous situation. The lions surround Daniel, yet they do not attack; instead, they seem to be at ease or indifferent to his presence, which underscores the miraculous nature of the event as described in the biblical narrative. The composition of the painting is dynamic, with the lions arranged in various postures around Daniel, creating a sense of movement and encircling space.

Rubens masterfully employs dramatic contrast with chiaroscuro, emphasizing the interplay of light and shadow to model the figures prominently. The muscular details of both Daniel and the lions are rendered with high realism and tactile quality that is characteristic of Rubens’ work. The use of warm, earthy tones and the realistic depiction of textures, particularly the lions’ fur, enhances the overall immersive effect.

The painting’s large scale and vivid portrayal imbue the artwork with a profound sense of drama and intensity, hallmarks of the Baroque period aimed at evoking emotional responses from viewers. By capturing this episode from the Book of Daniel, Rubens has created not only a masterful work of art but also an evocative visual narrative that has stood the test of time, embodying the power of faith and divine protection.

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