Oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens created at speed and in the heat of invention with a colorful loaded brush convey all the spontaneity of the great Flemish painter s creative process. This ravishing book draws from both private and public collections to present in full color 40 of Rubens s oil sketches. Viewers will find in these informal paintings an enchanting intimacy and gain a new appreciation of Rubens s capacity for invention and improvisation, and of his special genius for dramatic design and coloristic brilliance.The book investigates the role of the oil sketch in Rubens s work; the development of the artist s themes and narratives in his multiple sketches; and the history of the appreciation of his oil sketches. It also explores some of the unique aspects of his techniques and materials. By revealing the oil sketches as the most direct record of Rubens s creative process, the book presents him as the greatest and most fluent practitioner of this vibrant and vital medium.