The Four Evangelists (c. 1614) by Peter Paul Rubens

The Four Evangelists - Peter Paul Rubens - c.1614

Artwork Information

TitleThe Four Evangelists
ArtistPeter Paul Rubens
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions224 x 270 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationSchloss Sanssouci, Berlin

About The Four Evangelists

“The Four Evangelists,” created by Peter Paul Rubens around 1614, is an oil on canvas masterpiece of the Baroque period. The substantial artwork, measuring 224 by 270 centimeters, embodies the religious genre and is displayed at Schloss Sanssouci in Berlin. This work epitomizes the dynamic and dramatic style that characterizes Rubens’ contributions to Baroque art.

The artwork features the four evangelists, each accompanied by their traditional symbolic figures. The evangelists are depicted deeply immersed in the act of writing or contemplation of the Gospels. The palette is warm and the composition is complex, with a powerful use of light and shadow that adds depth and intensity to the scene. The figures are rendered with a lifelike vivacity that is typical of Rubens’ work, displaying his skillful use of chiaroscuro and his ability to convey movement and emotion.

The inclusion of the symbolic figures—the angel for Matthew, the lion for Mark, the ox for Luke, and the eagle for John—adds an allegorical layer to the depiction, with each creature thoughtfully positioned near its respective evangelist. The detailed depiction of these symbols serves to immediately identify each evangelist, and they are integral to the composition, contributing to its overall balance and rhythm.

The energy of the Baroque movement is evident in the composition’s sense of motion and the rich, vibrant color palette. Rubens’ mastery of depicting human anatomy and of conveying spiritual fervor is on full display in this compelling and deeply narrative religious scene.

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