Artists in the History

Peter Paul Rubens

Although less refined than Van Dyck as a portrait painter he shows this outstanding master of the path. His subjects of pure fantasy, such as the Garden of Love (Madrid and Dresden) and the Village Festival (Louvre), have never been equal to him.

He was all the more rare, both a popular painter and a painter-painter, as close to Constable, Delacroix or Renoir as he was to the artists of his time ; he created some of the most famous works of his time ; a prolific cartoonist for Flemish tapestry masters and title pages for Antwerp publishers ; two years later commissioned him a series of paintings.

One of the last great artists to consistently use wood paneling as a support for very large works, Rubens also used canvas especially when the work had to be sent over long distances.

In the mature stage of his career Rubens personally performed or supervised the execution of a huge number of works, covering all areas of painting and drawing, and he infiltrated his many religious paintings with the emotional bias of the counter-reformation. His commissioned works were mostly historical paintings which included religious and mythological subjects and hunting scenes. He received special permission to open his studio in Antwerp, not at their court in Brussels and also to work for other clients.

The Rubens Museum, a villa in the center of Antwerp influenced by Italians, houses his workshop where he and his students made most of the paintings as well as his personal art collection and library, which are among the largest in Antwerp. His artistic talents were recognized by the powerful Duke of Lerma, for whom he painted an impressive equestrian portrait (Madrid, Prado National Museum) and settled in Antwerp the next year.

Peter grew up as a Catholic and painted for the counter-reformation church, but he was born into a Protestant family. His mother and father fled the Spanish Netherlands during the persecution of Protestants in 1568 and his father was imprisoned for the relationship. Peter and his family returned to Antwerp, the Netherlands in January of 1587, and at the age of twelve he was raised as a Catholic lawyer and magistrate.

Rubens painted many portraits of the ducal family in Mantua, but much more important was the opportunity to study and reproduce the artistic treasures of Gonzaga collection, including the frescoes by Andrea Mantegna and Giulio Romano (circa 1495-1546) for a series of tapestries of the Acts of the Apostles. Rubens also went to church and palaces in neighboring Venice to study works by Titian, Tintoretto and Verone

He married Isabella Brunt in 1609 (see her portrait NGA 1937.1.47 by Sir Anthony van Dyck), daughter of a grand bourgeois and sister of his brother’s wife. Rubens spent his early years happily working in Italy until his mother ill in 1608, after which he decided to move to Antwerp, Belgium with his mother before her death.

Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish painter who made a name for himself not only in the art world but also in this diplomatic field and was known for the Baroque and bold European painting style around which most of his work was formed. Peter Paul Rubens is known for his inventive and dynamic paintings of religious and mythological subjects, although he also painted portraits and landscapes.

Peter Paul Rubens (born June 28th 1577, Siegen, Nassau, Westphalia – May 30th 1640, Antwerp, Spanish Netherlands [now Belgium]) was a renowned 17th century Flemish Baroque painter and the greatest exponent of the dynamism of Baroque paintings, vitality and sensual abundance.

Peter Paul Rubens, b. 28 June 1577 — 30 May 1640, was the most famous northern European artist of his time and is now widely recognized as one of the most important artists in the history of western art.

Paul Rubens remains the world famous artist Peter Paul Rubens – even during his lifetime – one of the most famous and influential Flemish artists of the Baroque period – painting religious, historical and mythological scenes as well as portraits for some of Europe’s prestigious patrons – Rubens created woven and painted decorations for the courts of France, England and Spain – Rubens occasionally worked as an international diplomat.

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