The Defeat of Sennacherib

Peter Paul Rubens, The Defeat of Sennacherib, c. 1617 CE, Alte Pinakothek Munich.

Rubens was descended from a long line of Antwerp patricians and was able to flourish in a turbulent and dangerous age. He visited several European courts as a diplomat-painter, including an eight-month stay in Madrid. Knighted by both Philip IV of Spain (1624) and the Stuart king Charles I (1630), he maintained an active and large workshop until his death in 1640. The Defeat of Sennacherib shows the powerful Assyrian army annihilated by angels. The meting out of justice was a thematic refrain of several paintings by Rubens as they were popular with his patrons. About 14x18 inches this small painting is a detailed scene of confusion and defeat.

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