Place: Sternberg Palace
On loan from the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.
“My talent is such that no task is too complicated for me.” These bold words were written by Peter Paul Rubens (1577 Siegen, Westphalia – 1640 Antwerp) in one of his letters. Visitors to the National Gallery in Prague will be able to see for themselves whether this comment is true or not. Rubens’ exceptionally interesting late work entitled The Supper in Emmaus will be on display in the Sternberg Palace from 9.10.2015 to 10.1.2016. Apart from the unusual interpretation of the bible story, (which those interested are acquainted with by the guided tours and further educational programmes) the painting is unique first and foremost for quite a different reason – in all probability the Master painted this canvas for himself as is adorned the dining room of the painter’s house in Antwerp. In the Prague National Gallery the loan from the Prado is aptly supplemented by the other paintings displayed, in particular the Martyrdom of St Thomas and the Meditation of St Augustine, which Rubens also painted towards the end of his life for St Thomas’s Church in Prague. Whereas the canvas from Madrid offers the intimate side of the Master’s work, the canvases with St Thomas and St Augustine show the official manifestation, which made Rubens famous all over Europe and testify to the skills, which were appreciated in Rubens by many admirers such as the English King Charles I, the French Queen Marie Medici or the Prior of the Augustinian Monastery of St Thomas, Jan Baptista Svitavský of Bochov, who ordered the paintings directly from Rubens for the Prague church. The personality of Rubens both as a painter and also an art collector is also completed by the pair of panels exhibited showing the Triumph of Caesar, which come from the artist’s own collection.