The de Young and Legion of Honor are temporarily closed to the public beginning March 14. Learn more about our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Browse by date:

Early Rubens: A Symposium

This event is expired.

Peter Paul Rubens, "The Massacre of the Innocents," ca. 1610

Peter Paul Rubens, "The Massacre of the Innocents," ca. 1610. Oil on panel, 55 7/8 x 72 1/16 in. (142 x 183 cm). The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Photograph by Sean Weaver

John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Theater

Bringing together a distinguished group of international museum curators and university professors, the symposium complements the exhibition Early Rubens by expanding the discussion around crucial aspects of Rubens's art-making in the 1610s. Important issues in Rubens's early mature work, such as collaborative production and artistic authorship, the role of the heroic figure in religious imagery, the potential of print media to make celebrities of living artists, and the impact of Caravaggio, will be explored through a series of 25-minute illustrated lectures. 

This Symposium is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.


11 am: Opening Remarks

11:15 am: Larry Silver; "Rubens's Christ as Spiritual Athlete"

11:45 am: Gerlinde Gruber;  “A Terrible Beauty – Rubens’s Vienna Head of Medusa and a new autograph Version”

12:15 pm: Victoria Sancho Lobis; " Printmaking and Rubens's Early Celebrity" 

12:45 pm: Break

1:30 pm: Catherine Lusheck; "Laboring Figures, Laboring Artist: Rubens and the Virtues of Intellectual and Pictorial Work, c. 1600-1615"

2 pm: Kirk Nickel; “Rubens, Caravaggio, and the Problem of the Close-Up”

2:30 pm: Q&A


Catherine Lusheck, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Early Modern Art, University of San Francisco
Catherine H. Lusheck is an Associate Professor of Early Modern Art and Museum Studies at the University of San Francisco and a Rubens and early modern drawings specialist. Her recent publications include her 2017 monograph, Rubens and the Eloquence of Drawing, and her essay "Leonardo's Brambles and their Afterlife in Rubens's Studies of Nature," published this year in Leonardo da Vinci - Nature and Architecture. She received USF's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013, and currently serves as an inaugural Faculty Chair of the new USF Honors College.

Gerlinde Gruber, Curator of Flemish Baroque Painting, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Gerlinde Gruber is Curator of Flemish Baroque Painting at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, where she co-curated the exhibition Rubens: The Power of Transformation in 2017. In recent years, she has also curated focus exhibitions on work by Antony van Dyck, Otto van Veen, and Rubens—the latter exhibition addressing Rubens’s compositional edits to The Little Fur revealed through collaborative research with painting conservators at the University of Antwerp. Since 2013, Gruber has worked with the Rubenianum on the partly-published volume of the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard dedicated to Rubens’s mythologies.

Kirk Nickel, Co-Curator of Early Rubens
Kirk Nickel is a specialist of sixteenth-century European art. He has held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, in addition to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He received his doctorate in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote his dissertation on the north Italian painter Moretto da Brescia.

Larry Silver, James & Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor Emeritus of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania
Larry Silver is Farquhar Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught previously at both Berkeley and Northwestern and served as President of the College Art Association as well as the Historians of Netherlandish Art. A specialist in painting and graphics of early modern Northern Europe, he has co-authored a book Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain (2014) and another Rembrandt's Faith (2009).  His most recent book is Rembrandt's Holland (2018), and he published earlier studies on such artists as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Albrecht Dürer, and Quinten Massys as well as studies of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and Antwerp genre pictures, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes. Silver also organized major exhibitions of prints: Graven Images (1993) and Grand Scale (2008).

Victoria Sancho Lobis, Independent Scholar and Curator
Victoria Sancho Lobis is an independent scholar and curator with recent experience working for the Art Institute of Chicago and teaching at Claremont McKenna College. Her exhibitions and publications have included old master prints and drawings, Viceregal Latin American painting, Whistler and his influence, and contemporary drawings and photography. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, where she wrote her dissertation on workshop practice in the time of Peter Paul Rubens. She is currently engaged at the Art Institute of Chicago as a guest curator for a project treating that museum’s Dutch and Flemish drawings (exhibition on view 28 September 2019–5 January 2020).

Ticket Information

Free. No additional ticket required.

Seating is limited and first-come, first-served. Seating tickets will be distributed an hour before the lecture begins in front of the theater.

Contact Information
(415) 750-7624