Studio International

Published 12/03/2002

Just when the Rubens’ world seemed to be safely recatalogued, a great masterpiece has turned up in Amsterdam, having an estimated value of up to 6 million when it is auctioned next summer. The subject is ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’, and is of a goriness and haemorrhage rating that exceeds recent emanations of contemporary art at the Royal Academy, London. It is thought to ‘pair’ with another Rubens, ‘Samson and Delilah.’ A central female figure, frontal in Samson and Delilah, and turning away in ‘Massacre of the Innocents’ is thought to be one and the same subject. The Austrian female owner finds the newly discovered work less than palatable, and has no regrets selling it, of course. The painting surfaced in Sotheby’s Amsterdam. As they say, win some, lose some.