This art work is a rare oil sketch by Justus van Egmont (1601-1674). Van Egmont is one of the few masters of whom we can be certain that he worked in Rubens's studio as an assistant. He then moved to the French court, where his career took off.
Sketch for tapestry
The sketch is for a cartoon for a tapestry. It represents an event in Rome's earliest history. After the Romans abducted the Sabine virgins, the Sabines prepared for war with Rome. The Sabine virgins intervened, brokering a reconciliation.
Rare oil sketch
This oil sketch was purchased with the support of the Friends of the Rubens House. You can see this work in the Corner Room (on the first floor). Until the mid-1950s it was widely assumed to be a sketch by the master himself. Another reason for taking a closer look at this work: Justus van Egmont's work is barely represented in Belgian museums.