The Assumption of the Virgin
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Peter Paul Rubens, draftsman; Paulus Pontius, draftsman
Flemish, about 1624
Black chalk, touches of red chalk, pen and brown ink, and brown and gray wash, heightened with white and gray gouache and oil paint; incised for transfer
25 7/8 x 16 15/16 in.

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When Peter Paul Rubens decided to have an engraving made after his 1618 altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin, a young member of his studio, Paulus Pontius, made a detailed drawing of the painting in black chalk. Scholars believe that little evidence of Pontius's design remains. Rubens extensively reworked the drawing, probably in an effort to instruct Pontius on how to make good engravings after his paintings, an activity that Rubens considered very important. The young Pontius went on to become one of the most successful interpreters of Rubens's work through engravings.