Wednesday, December 5, 2007


"Man in Korean Costume" drawing made by Rubens, in 1617/18 -- black chalk and some traces of red chalk on paper, 38.4 x 23.5 cm. The depicted man is probably an European, and the costume is indeed a Korean Chosôn period costume . The drawing is part of a series of five drawings, the other four being men in Chinese costumes.

It has been speculated that the man in the costume is the China missionary Nicolas Trigault (alias Kin Nige, 1577-1628), who in January 1617 was together with Rubens in Antwerp. In the
background, Rubens sketched a small boat to emphasize that his sitter was a visitor from a distant place, but he was clearly more interested in the man and his costume than in providing a detailed setting. The drawing is one of Rubens's most meticulous portraits, enriched by the highlights added to the man's face.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was the most renowned northern European artist of his day, and is now widely recognized as one of the foremost painters in Western art history.In 1983, this portrait was sold in auction for
£ 324,000 ($ 476,280) and it is now in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu, Calif.)

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