Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640

The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew

oil on canvas (306 × 216 cm) — c. 1639 Museum Fundación Carlos de Amberes, Madrid

Peter Paul Rubens biography

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Tags: Andrew

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According to tradition, after the death of Christ St. Andrew preached in a number of cities along the Black Sea and in Anatolia. In the Greek city of Patras he was arrested. After undergoing flagellation he was tied to a cross and left to die. Since the Middle Ages his cross has always been shown having the shape of an X: Saint Andrew's cross.

Rubens painted this canvas in the last years of his life. It was commissioned by Jan Van Vucht, the representative of the Antwerp printing company Plantin in Madrid. Van Vucht donated the work to a local hospital that had been founded by his compatriot Carlos de Amberes.

The work has been in the hospital's chapel ever since, with the exception of trips to the Escorial (1844-1891) and to the Prado (1978-1989).

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