Exaltation of the Cross - Peter Paul Rubens. 462x341 cm
The triptych “Exaltation of the Cross” was completed in 1610 and brought Rubens the long-awaited fame. The artist came up with the idea to bring this plot to the canvas back in Italy, however, he was able to start work only upon his return to his homeland, in Flanders.
Speaking about the outstanding picture of the outstanding artist, first of all, I want to emphasize what is unusual in this work, and revolutionary innovations are really enough here. Firstly, the plot itself - paintings related to the crucifixion of Christ, before Rubens illustrated an already completed action - Christ was executed. For the first time in religious painting, Rubens made the viewer a witness to this dramatic scene.
Secondly, Rubens deprived the static canonical plot and the people present here. The work is full of dynamics, which is embodied in the tense muscles of soldiers, furiously, almost furiously erecting a cross. Christ Himself is not presented as a holy martyr, humble and calm, but a great creator of his destiny, who stands above everything that happens. His hands are not helplessly submissively extended to the sides, but are raised up above his proud head. The viewer can see how tight his muscular body is.
The central part of the triptych is dedicated to the main character - Christ. The left panel depicts a grieving mother, Joseph, and other people. The right part depicts two criminals who are being prepared for a monstrous execution.
The whole composition, thanks to the color scheme, resembles a living wave that picks up and erects a cross. Restless glare, light spots, sharp lines and create a dramatic impulsive movement. At first glance at the picture, every believer with mixed feelings of pain, guilt, grief realizes what a great sacrifice Christ made in the name of mankind - this was what Rubens sought.
After writing this picture, Rubens began to be called the "god of painters."