Eleventh Approach to Rubens ‘Het Steen’, 1636

Peter Paul Rubens: 'A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning', 1636. Oil on Oak. Oil on oak.131 x 229.cm. National Gallery, London

Het Steen

The behaviour of gallery goers is endlessly fascinating. Apart from the usual schoolchildren (poorly behaved and French today) others trudge through the galleries, is this a form of nomadism? A pilgrimage? Something dutiful, done with little interest, the journey is the penance, the reward comes at the end. Although some are clearly fascinated and will stand entranced. Is gallery going a useful space to think about life outside the gallery?
Woman on cart has red blouse/ shirt and blue dress; contrasting complementaries. Only just noticed that the man driving the cart is actually on top of his horse, not on the right of the woman as I had always assumed. He (looking vaguely like a younger Rubens, with the hat to hide his baldness) is sitting on some sort of saddle and the two horses have a heavy bridle between them to pull the two wheeled cart; a fairly agricultural affair. She sits on hay with the brass jug (by the way there is a very similar jug in an equivalent late landscape ‘Landscape with a Rainbow’ 1635,

Rubens: 'Landscape with a Rainbow', 1636. The Wallace Collection, London

a peasant balances it on her head). In front of her is the deer.

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