The National Museum of Western Art

update 05 December 2018

Currently not on display

Peter Paul Rubens [Siegen, 1577 - Antwerp, 1640]

Abundance (Abundantia)

Datec. 1630
Materials/Techniquesoil on panel
Size (cm)63.7 x 45.8
Credit LineTransferred from the Agency for Cultural Affairs
Standard ref.Jaffé 986
Collection NumberP.1978-0004
Abundance (Abundantia)

Like the study work Two Sleeping Children, this painting is a study created for an allegory of Abundance image. While the former was painted when Rubens was about 35 or 36 years old, this painting dates from his early 50s. This study is thought to have been a preparatory work for a tapestry, and originally formed a pair with Justice (private collection), also by Rubens's hand. The young woman in the center of the composition represents Abundance, and the cornucopia, symbol of abundance, is placed on her lap. The fruits that spill forth from the cornucopia symbolize the goodness of nature for mankind. Two putti are shown gathering the fruit that spills forth. The purse under the woman's foot represents material treasures in contrast with the natural treasures of the cornucopia. This is a superb preparatory work in oils by Rubens's own hand. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 27)


Charles-Henry, Count of Heym; Duc de Beauvais sale, Paris, 1739(32); James Harris (this information is based on an inventory of the collection of James Harris, entitled: "My pictures, An Account of my Pictures, 1739"... : "bought at Cock's in Covent Garden at the sale of one Beauvais 1739... Two pictures, one of Plenty, the other of Justice... of Rubens..."; On the margin of the MS inventory, Newnham House, Basingstoke, in their possession since the 18th century; E. Victor Thaw, New York; Artemis, S.A., Brussels; David Carritt, London; Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, 1978, from which transferred to the NMWA, 1978.

Exhibition History

European pictures from an English Country, Agnew's, London, 28 June 1957 - 27 July 1957, cat. no. 14
King's Lynn, London, 1960 - 1960, cat. no. 21
Oil sketches and smaller pictures by Peter Paul Rubens, Agnew's, London, 20 February 1961 - 11 March 1961, cat. no. 35
P.P. Rubens: Gemälde - Ölskizzen - Zeichnungen, Königliches Museum der Schönen Künste, Antwerpen, 29 June 1977 - 30 September 1977, cat. no. 83, repr.
Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 16 October 2018 - 20 January 2019, cat. no. 63


Ripa, Cesare. Iconologia, of uytbeeldingen des verstands. Amsterdam, 1644, p. 433.
Nicolson, Benedict. Pictures from Hampshire houses. The Burlington Magazine. vol. 99, no. 653, August 1957, p. 274, fig. 35.
Jaffé, Michael. Unpublished drawings by Rubens in French museums. Gazette des Beaux-Arts. ser.6, tome 66, septembre 1965, p. 177, fig. 4.
Haverkamp Begemann, Egbert. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. part X ("The Achilles series"), Brussel, 1975, p. 46.
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 251, repr.
Gazette des Beaux-Arts. ser. 6, tome 93, Apr. 1979, "Chronique des Arts", p. 67, no. 338, repr.
Koshi, Koichi. Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 13 (1978), 1980, New Acquisitions (Painting). pp. 14-15, New Acquisitions (Catalogue). pp. 36-37, repr.
Jaffé, Michael. Rubens: catalogo completo. Mulazzani, Germano, trans. Milano, Rizzoli, 1989, pp. 317, no. 986, repr.
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 39, col. repr.

Page top