Peter Paul Rubens
Flemish, 1577 ‑ 1640
The Princes of the Church Adoring the Eucharist, about 1626 ‑ 1627
Oil on panel
26 1/4 × 18 5/16 in. (66.7 × 46.5 cm.)
Gift in memory of George W. Norton IV, by his mother, Mrs. George W. Norton Jr. and his aunt, Mrs. Leonard T. Davidson 1966.16
In the early 1620s, Rubens was commissioned to design a series of monumental tapestries by the governor-general of the Netherlands, the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia. Intended to celebrate the glory of the Catholic Church, The Triumph of the Eucharist tapestries were presented by the Infanta to the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (Convent of the Barefoot Royals) in Madrid, Spain. This preparatory sketch depicts the church hierarchy. Look for the pope, kneeling with the papal tiara beside him, a bishop in a gold cloak (called a cope), a cardinal holding a tasseled hat, and a Dominican monk with his arms raised in prayer. In the sky, two cherubs gesture toward the Eucharist, which would have been depicted in a separate panel.