National Gallery discovers Rubens painting

The collections inside Norway’s National Gallery were suddenly NOK 40 million richer on Thursday, after art experts confirmed that a small painting in the gallery’s ownership for around 100 years was actually painted by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens.

“This is something you don’t discover every day,” Nico van Hout, a Belgian conservationist and Rubens expert, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday. He could confirm that a small painting that for decades had been accompanied by an “Artist unknown” plaque was really a product of Rubens, painted around 1615.

Van Hout called the painting ” a major discovery, that should be made known internationally  because of the importance of the painting. No one knew about it because it hasn’t been registered in catalogues of drawings by the master.”

Van Hout thinks the painting was made as a prototype for a much larger “and very important” Rubens painting that now hangs in museum in Munich. “This can be Rubens’ first idea behind the main work,” van Hout told NRK.

Nils Ohlsen, a director at the National Gallery, said it was “a joyful day for us” because it shows that the National Gallery has “a very fine collection of older art.” The painting’s market value was pegged at around NOK 40 million (USD 7.2 million).

See a photo of the painting here (external link).

Views and News staff