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The Rubens Studio and the 'Drunken Silenus supported by Satyrs'

Larry Keith
Technical Bulletin Volume 20, 1999


The organisation of Rubens's studio is discussed, and his own letters are used to describe the ways in which the artist could participate with his assistants to produce a given painting. Landscape or animal painters might work on the background while Rubens did the rest, including the design of the entire image, or he might merely retouch a work painted by his assistants from one of his sketches.

His participation in the Drunken Silenus is considered in detail in the light of technical information illustrated here, taking account of losses in the modelling due to the fading of indigo and of one of the two red lake pigments which were used. It appears that one principal artist, likely Rubens himself, worked with at least two assistants in this case.


assistants, paintings, Peter Paul Rubens, primary source documents, workshops (organisations)

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Keith, L. 'The Rubens Studio and the "Drunken Silenus supported by Satyrs"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 20, pp 96–104.


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