Peter Paul Rubens: The Fall of Man (1628-29)

Rubens studied Titian carefully throughout his career, copying many of his paintings. This copy of The Fall of Man in the Prado was done when he was once again in Madrid for eight months in 1628–29. He was at the height of his diplomatic career, trying to negotiate a peace between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. Philip IV had knighted him in 1624, and he was treated as a peer by the nobility.

It was not a simple copy. Rubens added some details, like the parrot at the left. He changed Adam’s position for a more harmonious composition (Titian’s pictures tilts somewhat to the left), makes his expression more intense. He also makes him older. Flemish and Dutch painters often show a strange fascination with the bodies of older, even old men.

The comparison with Rubens’ own earlier Adam and Eve from the beginning of his career is interesting as well. His style sure developed over those thirty years!

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