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Head of an Old WomanEnlarge image

Head of an Old Woman, c. 1615

Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577 - 1640
oil on oak
52 x 43.3 cm
Purchased 1925
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3339)

OLD - Frame French (Paris), 1720s Made for "Head of an Old Woman" c. 1615 carved and water gilded oak This stunning frame was made in Paris, eighty-odd years after the artist’s death, and represents the height of craftsmanship and taste of its day. We have removed it from Rubens’ panel for this exhibition, allowing us to focus on the painting itself. While the frame is a manifestation of Rubens’ importance for collectors and artists in the century after his death, it is starkly at odds with the essential nature and intended function of the work. The aim of this exhibition is to position the viewer as a visitor to the artist’s studio and see the works free from historic inaccuracy, misconception and, in some cases, dirt and grime. The goal here is to allow us to see the objects as clearly as we possibly can.

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