Study for a Male Figure Descending thumbnail 1
Study for a Male Figure Descending thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H , Case DG, Shelf 42

Study for a Male Figure Descending

ca. 1613-1614 (drawn)
Place of origin

Study of a male figure descending

Object details

Object type
TitleStudy for a Male Figure Descending (published title)
Materials and techniques
Drawing in black chalk, heightened with white, on warm toned paper
Brief description
Drawing; Study for a Male Figure Descending; by Peter Paul Rubens, Black chalk, heightened with white, on warm toned paper; Flemish School; ca. 1613-1614
Physical description
Study of a male figure descending
  • Height: 481 mm
  • Width: 400mm
Its shape is an irregular octagon.
Production typeUnique
Marks and inscriptions
Inscribed at lower right, in brown ink (with the museum’s Dyce inv. no.), 517.
Gallery label
This drawing is one of many individual studies of the figure that Rubens made. He used them to make subsequent preparatory drawings for larger compositions. Rubens drew his figure studies from live models. They allowed him to refine and improve details like the pose, expression and musculature of the body.
Credit line
Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce
Object history
Prosper Henry Lankrink (1628–92), London (L. 2090); the Hon. John Spencer (1708–46), Althorp House, Northants; by descent to the Earls of Spencer, Althorp House (L. 1531); Rev. Alexander Dyce (1798–1869), London, by
whom bequeathed to the museum (L. Suppl. 153b), 1869.

This is a possible a study for Mercury descending in 'The Education of Marie de Medici'. It may also have been used for 'The Fall of the Damned' or an avenging angel in 'The Fall of Angels' in Munich.
Subjects depicted
Bibliographic references
  • DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum, 1874.
  • Jane Shoaf Turner and Christopher White, Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2014), vol. II, cat. 527, pp.453-55
Accession number

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Record createdJune 30, 2009
Record URL
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