This album is one of four copies known to us today of Rubens’ manuscript theoretical notebook, which was lost in 1720 in a fire that broke out in André-Charles Boulle’s studio.
Rubens set out in his notebook, in the form of notes and sketches, his principles of representation regarding perspective, anatomy, proportions, symmetry and architecture. He established amazing comparisons between human and animal anatomy. Most of the texts are in Latin, the common language of the time for scientists, but Rubens also wrote some of them in Dutch.
The de Ganay album also contains sketches of male figures taken from Leonardo da Vinci’s treatise on painting. This treatise, enriched with illustrations by Nicholas Poussin, was published in 1651, after the death of Rubens.