Thinking Through Drawing: Rubens and the Rhetorical Art of Eloquence

Lusheck presenting on Rubens

Following the recent publication of her monograph, Rubens and the Eloquence of Drawing (Routledge/Ashgate, 2017), Associate Professor Kate Lusheck (Art History & Museum Studies) discussed the graphic art of the great, seventeenth-century painter, Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640) in light of the historical and rhetorical concept of eloquence. In this large lecture style talk, Lusheck presented a close, case study approach, focusing in detail on how one Rubens drawing of Medea and her dead children powerfully demonstrates the artist’s interest in drawing together form and content through an unusually conscious approach to style and emulation. Cross-disciplinary in her concerns, Lusheck demonstrated how such spectacles of graphic eloquence, grounded in borrowing from ideas located in great texts and objects of the distant and recent past, highlight Rubens’s fascination with creating more conceptually robust models of design. She contends that in the end, such drawings reflect the inimitable ways of thinking of an erudite, humanist artist who loved to design as much in his mind as on paper.

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