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20 North Main St (also enter on 224 Benefit Street) Providence, RI 02903

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Art & Design

Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599-1641
Study for Malchus, before 1621
Black chalk on paper
24.5 x 37.2 cm (9 5/8 x 14 5/8 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 20.443

Anthony van Dyck

Study for Malchus

Anthony van Dyck
Flemish, 1599-1641
Study for Malchus, before 1621
Black chalk on paper
24.5 x 37.2 cm (9 5/8 x 14 5/8 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 20.443

Van Dyck created this drawing while an assistant in the workshop of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). It is a compositional study for van Dyck’s Betrayal of Christ (ca. 1620, Prado, Madrid), a painting the artist presented to Rubens. The subject of the sketch is Malchus, servant to the high priest of Jerusalem. According to the Gospel of John, Peter severed Malchus’s ear with a sword during Christ’s capture in the Garden of Gethsemane. Van Dyck depicted Malchus’s struggle with Peter, whose hand is visible at left grasping Malchus’s clothing. Van Dyck’s strong direction of line, most obvious underneath the figure, reinforces Malchus’s violent gesture. The drama and psychological tension achieved through the pose and facial features are typical of art from northern European Catholic regions after 1585


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