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Nicolas became Lord of Rameyen during his own lifetime and was one of the sons of Peter Paul Rubens and Isabella Brandt, with brother Albert.
This loosely drawn sketch captures Nicolas at around the age of four or five, which would place this artwork at approximately 1623-1624. The artist probably produced this as a personal piece for his own collection, surely unwilling to pass on memories of his young son. The hair is fairly simply done with minimal detail and only shading placed around his neckline.
The boy's father and artist of this drawing, Peter Paul, created an extraordinary collection of art during his lifetime, including many of his own paintings and drawings. Personal pieces such as these would have been part of his most prized possessions and perhaps even given as gifts to his proud wife, Isabella. This drawing was probably completed in pencil and would only have taken perhaps an hour so at the absolute most.
Albert and Nicolas were later captured together in a beautiful family portrait painting by their father and that artwork is far more famous because of its status as a complex oil piece and also that it featured both of the boys. Whilst the artist was particularly skilled as a draughtsman, only the real followers of his career ever look into his drawings in any great detail, with occassional art fans focusing entirely on his work with oils.