Man in Korean Costume

Object Details

Title:

Man in Korean Costume

Artist/Maker(s):

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577 - 1640)

Culture:

Flemish

Date:

about 1617

Medium:

Black chalk with touches of red chalk in the face

Dimensions:

38.4 x 23.5 cm (15 1/8 x 9 1/4 in.)

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Peter Paul Rubens probably made this study of a man in Korean costume as an independent work of art. Since contact between Europe and Korea was almost non-existent in Rubens's time, how he came into contact with Korean silk robes and transparent headdress in Antwerp remains a mystery.

In the background, Rubens sketched a small boat to emphasize a distant place, but he was clearly more interested in the costume than in providing a detailed setting.

The drawing is one of Rubens's most meticulous depictions, enriched by touches of red chalk added to the man's face. Fascinated by the play of light on the silk, Rubens juxtaposed black chalk and white paper to create the man's shimmering costume. This drawing later inspired one of the central figures in Rubens's painting The Miracles of Saint Francis Xavier in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Provenance

Jonathan Richardson the Elder, British, 1667 - 1745 [sold, Cock, London, January 29, 1747, lot 41]

Baron Adalbert von Lanna, Czech, 1836 - 1909 [sold, Gutekunst, Stuttgart, May 7, 1910, lot 476]

Mrs. Head, British, and by descent [sold, Christie's, London, November 29, 1983, lot 135, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]

1747

Jonathan Richardson the Younger, British, 1694 - 1771

by 1774

R. Willett

1910

Christopher Head, British, bequeathed to his wife, Mrs. Head

Exhibitions
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993, (Cat. 96)
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994, (Cat. 79)
Drapery and Costume in European Drawings of the 15th through the 18th Century (March 28 to June 11, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), March 28 to June 11, 1995, (Cat.)
Jonathan Richardson Senior as a Collector of Drawings (November 14, 1995 to January 28, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), November 14, 1995 to January 28, 1996, (Cat.)
Peter Paul Rubens and the Art of Drawing in Flanders (August 29 to October 22, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 29 to October 22, 2000, (Cat.)
Flemish Master Drawing (December 19, 2003 to February 8, 2004)
  • Seoul Arts Center, (Seoul), December 19, 2003 to February 8, 2004, (Cat. pp. 44-5)
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640): The Drawings (September 14, 2004 to April 3, 2005)
  • Albertina, (Vienna), September 14 to December 5, 2004, (Cat. by A.-M. Logan, et al. Albertina Cat. no. 76, see also p. 117, note 115; Metropolitan Cat. no. 75, see also p. 59, note 117. 76/75)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), January 14 to April 3, 2005, (Cat. by A.-M. Logan, et al. Albertina Cat. no. 76, see also p. 117, note 115; Metropolitan Cat. no. 75, see also p. 59, note 117. 76/75)
The Secret of the Joseon Portraits (September 26 to November 6, 2011)
  • National Museum of Korea, (Seoul), September 26 to November 6, 2011, (Cat. 144)
Looking East: Rubens's Encounter with Asia (March 5 to June 9, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 5 to June 9, 2013, (Cat.)