Henry IV in the battle of Ivry, off to New York

Rubens’ masterpiece on display at New York exhibition

‘Henry IV in the battle of Ivry’, the unfinished masterpiece by Rubens, is one of the centrepieces at the exhibition ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’ in New York. In September 2016, the monumental painting will be returning to the Rubens House.

March 2016 will see the opening of this exhibition at The Met Breuer, the brand-new expansion of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. No fewer than 197 unfinished masterpieces by, among others, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Turner, Cézanne, as well as Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg, will give us an insight into the creative process of artists from the Renaissance to today.

Foto: Ans Brys


Back in September 2016

‘Henry IV in the battle of Ivry’, from the six-part series on the life of the French King Henry IV, returns to the Rubens House in September 2016. Rubens’ monumental canvas is currently undergoing conservation treatment and is being prepared for transport.


Three arms

In this painting, Rubens was still trying to find the right composition, which is evident from the helmeted soldier in the centre. He has three arms! There is a shield on his left arm, he is holding a sword with his right hand and a spear with his middle hand. The work clearly shows how the master built up his paintings with large, loose brush strokes. Some sections are more elaborate, while in others, the shapes are traced much more faintly.



‘The battle of Ivry’ is on the list of Flemish Community Masterpieces. Those works have an exceptional artistic and cultural-historical significance for Flanders and may be loaned only in exceptional cases. For the exhibition ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’, Rubens’ unfinished composition will be one of the crowd pullers.


More info?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Foto: Ans Brys