Do you have any questions, comments or suggestions?
Rubens was an enthusiastic collector of antique sculpture. He was, however, less interested in the work of his contemporaries.
His collection of ‘contemporary’ sculpture must have consisted primarily of so-called kabinetstukken (‘cabinet pieces’), which had been carved in ivory in accordance with his own specifications. This select group of artists included the German sculptor Georg Petel. Around 1624, Petel spent some time in Antwerp, where he worked closely with Rubens. Ruben’s owned three of his statues, including this small, exquisitely carved ivory piece depicting the first humans. The nature of the material meant that ivory carvers mainly worked in miniature: an elephant’s tusk is, after all, only so big.
Georg Petel (1593-1633)
Adam and Eve