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Museum of Art Galleries 1 and 2 - Peter Paul Rubens

Museum of Art Galleries 1 and 2 - Peter Paul Rubens

Galleries 1 and 2 feature five immense oil on canvas paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and his workshop, part of a series devoted to the theme of the Triumph of the Eucharist. The ruler of the Spanish Netherlands, Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) commissioned Rubens, her court painter, to create designs for a cycle of tapestries on the theme of the Eucharist. The tapestries were destined for her beloved Convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid, where they remain to the present day. The canvas paintings preserve the tapestry designs in paint, and are thought to have been commissioned by Isabella Clara Eugenia to adorn her palace in Brussels. Seven of these large canvases survive, and five of them are at The Ringling.

John Ringling purchased four of the canvases from the Duke of Westminster in 1926 and designed Gallery 2 especially to house them. The fifth canvas, on view in Gallery 1, was purchased by the museum in 1980. Gallery 1 also displays a tapestry from the late 17th century which repeated one of Rubens’s designs. The designs from the Triumph of the Eucharist series continued to be copied in tapestry by multiple weaving houses after the original set was made for Madrid.