Audio Stop 280
Sir Peter Paul Rubens
Daniel in the Lions' Den, c. 1614/1616
West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 45
Peter Paul Rubens, one of the greatest masters of the 17th century and a devout Catholic, masterfully combined realism and theatricality to draw a strong emotional reaction. Here, several lions stare at us directly, suggesting that we share their space and, like Daniel, experience the same menace. By portraying them close to life size with convincing realism, Rubens heightened this immediacy. The lions’ lifelike movement and their superbly rendered fur resulted from Rubens’s direct observation and sketches he made at the royal menagerie in Brussels. The dramatic lighting and the exaggerated emotionalism of Daniel’s prayerful pose add to the veracity.