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Most of Rubens’s works were created in this studio. On the work floor, he demonstrated his talent as artist and organiser. Pupils, assistants and colleagues assisted him in the production of more than 2,500 ‘Rubens paintings’.
Rubens would draft the painting in oil on a small canvas. He generally left the transfer to the large canvas to his assistants, and would have certain sections executed by colleagues who were specialised in flowers, animals, landscapes or other subjects. Rubens’s share in the painting was generally restricted to the figures, the finishing and, particularly, the supervision over the work of the studio.
A not unimportant – and lucrative – part of the studio production were the copies of originals painted by Rubens himself. Yet everything that was created here was under the quality seal of ‘Rubens’ – with the associated price tag. Anybody who wanted a painting that was exclusively the work of the master would have this laid down in a contract and would pay a fee many times higher than the normal rate.