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RUBENS

Peter Paul Rubens (1577 to 1640)

"Before Rubens, no Western artist of equally great talent had been as well born, as well educated, as well mothered, as well placed, or as widely and powerfully patronized. His father, a Protestant lawyer, left Antwerp for Westphalia to escape persecution. There Peter Paul was born and baptized a Calvinist; then his parents separated. Mother and son returned to Antwerp, where he was humanistically schooled, rebaptized a Roman Catholic, and soon became a page at a neighboring court.

"The first key Flemish apostle of Renaissance grandeur had been the far earlier Antwerp master Frans Floris, and Rubens doubtless turned to his achievements for initial guidance. In Antwerp, young Rubens received three successive apprenticeships with local artists: Adam van Noort, Tobias Verhaecht, and the superior Italianate painter Otto van Veen. Rubens stayed with the latter until his first journey to Italy in 1600, where he remained until 1608.

"Among major painters, only Giorgio Vasari, Sir Joshua Reynolds, andEugéne Delacroix may have known as much about art and its history as Rubens did. Significantly, both the English and the French master placed the Fleming among their very favorites, each having been deeply influenced by Rubens's re-creation of the visual triumphs of Renaissance Venice, Mantua, and Rome, along with those of classical antiquity. Despite great erudition Rubens retained his individuality throughout a long and vastly productive career, for, above all, he was a supreme master of the imagination.

"Young Rubens traveled widely. In Mantua he was attached to the court of Vincenzo Gonzaga, then sent throughout Italy to paint copies for him, and voyaged to Spain in 1603-4 with gifts from Vincenzo to Philip III. The young artist's other major Italian patronage and study areas were Genoa and Rome, where he was close to the art of the Carracci.

"Due to his later appointments to the courts of the Infanta Isabella and the Archduke Ferdinand, Spanish viceroys of the Netherlands, Charles I in England, Marie de' Médicí in France, and Philip IV in Spain, much of Rubens's life was spent "on the road" or in preparing works for export. He also fulfilled massive commissions for leaders of the church and state in Italy, Austria, and Germany, causing him to observe in 1621, "My talents are such that I have never lacked courage to undertake any design, however vast in size or diversified in subject." Among the keenest admirers of Italian and antique achievements, Rubens also remembered earlier Netherlandish art with its glowing textures, gleaming flesh, and vibrant color harmonies.

"This painter possessed of protean gifts proved to be an effective ambassador, scholar, courtier, humanist, lover and family man, classicist, architect, knight, numismatist, collector of antiquities, print designer, agent-connoisseur-adviser, pageant master, and fervent Roman Catholic. Equipped with rare energy, he would be up by 4:00 A.M. and could paint while dictating a letter and carrying on a conversation with a visitor, all at the same time. The artist was blessed with rare gifts of organization and a sense for realism and idealism. Rubens's creative, inventive response to conservative theology and to classical values validated the vast pictorial cycles demanded by his patrons. These filled Antwerp's new Jesuit church and Charles I's new banqueting hall ceiling at Whitehall. Twenty-four huge canvases of Marie de' Médicí's life were painted for the Palais du Luxembourg, and Philip IV's Torre de la Parada contained 112 mythological subjects designed by Rubens that were largely executed by his colleagues. The dramas of splendid triumphal entries and eucharistic events were celebrated with sketches, etchings, and tapestries as well as vast paintings, for Rubens possessed an unrivaled capacity for commemorating occasion and institution. Affirmation lies at the center of his art; he could accord as much grandeur to the celebration of Flemish peasant life as to the splendor of Marie de' Médicí's Parisian court.

"He was that rarest of phenomena, at once a popular painter and an artist's artist, as close to Constable, Delacroix, or Renoir as to the painters of his own day. A handsome man, gracefully mannered, with beautiful wives and children, Rubens enjoyed harmony's enviable balance of opposites. While he was profoundly romantic, he was equally rooted in the classical tradition; his Roman Catholic orthodoxy never conflicted with his passion for antiquity. Venus and Virgin are almost interchangeable in the Fleming's art.

"Rubens was a leading citizen of Europe's Roman Catholic world, and spoke fluent French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish, making him ideally suited to the ambassadorial role given him by the Infanta. As court painter to Ferdinand and Isabella, Rubens lived with recent memories of religious wars and iconoclasm, of fierce local resistance to the Habsburg empire. The result was that his art often served the neo-orthodoxy of his patrons and that of the Jesuit and other Catholic Orders.

"The Fleming was a shrewd judge of character and talent, and maintained a large, efficient, successful atelier in his little palace of an Antwerp townhouse. Innumerable "Rubenses" that began with his design and ended with a few of his brushstrokes artfully placed where they counted most streamed from Rubens's very profitable workshop. The artist was also active in collaboration with men like "Velvet" Brueghel,Anthony van Dyck, Frans Snyders, and Daniel Seghers. His status as court painter freed Rubens from registering assistants with the guild, paying taxes, or subscribing to guild rules, all of which contributed to his prosperity."

- From Colin Eisler, "Masterworks in Berlin: A City's Paintings Reunited"

 

 RUBENS_virchild

Rubens, Peter Paul Virgin and Child enthroned with saints c. 1627-8 Sketch for a large altar painting; Oil on wood 80.2 x 55.5 cm (31 1/2 x 21 3/4 in.) Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Three Graces Oil on canvas 87 x 71 1/4 in. (221 x 181 cm) Prado, Madrid

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Rubens, Peter Paul Portrait of Susanna Fourment ("Le chapeau de paille") c. 1622-25 Oil on panel 31 1/16 x 21 1/4 in (79 x 54 cm) National Gallery, London

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Stone Carters c. 1620 Oil on canvas, transferred from panel 34 x 50 in (86 x 126.5 cm) Hermitage, St Petersburg

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Rubens, Peter Paul St. Sebastian c. 1618 Canvas 78 x 49 13/16 in (200 x 128 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul Saint Gregory with Saints Domitilla, Maurus, and Papianus 1607 Oil on canvas 477 x 288 cm Musee de Grenoble, Grenoble

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Rubens, Peter Paul Saints Gregory, Maurus, Papianus, and Domitilla 1606 Canvas 57 1/8 x 46 13/16 in (200 x 128 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul St. Cecilia 1639-40 Oak 69 x 54 3/16 in (177 x 139 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul Self-portrait c. 1638-40 Oil on canvas 43 x 33 1/2 in (109.5 x 85 cm) Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna

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Rubens, Peter Paul Return of the Peasants from the Fields c. 1632-34 Oil on panel 47 5/8 x 76 3/8 in (121 x 194 cm) Pitti, Florence

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Arrival of Marie de' Medici at Marseilles Detail of nereid 1622-26 Oil on canvas 155 x 115 1/4 in (394 x 293 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Arrival of Marie de' Medici at Marseilles Detail of Marie de' Medici 1622-26 Oil on canvas 155 x 115 1/4 in (394 x 293 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Arrival of Marie de' Medici at Marseilles 1622-26 Oil on canvas 155 x 115 1/4 in (394 x 293 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Little Fur (Helen Fourment, the Second Wife to the Artist) c. 1638 Oil on oak panel 176 x 83 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus c. 1618 Oil on canvas 88 x 82 7/8 in (224 x 210.5 cm) Alte Pinakothek, Munich

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Lamentation c. 1609-11 Oak 13 1/4 x 10 1/2 in (34 x 27 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Kermesse c. 1630-35 Oil on panel 4' 10 5/8 x 8' 6 3/4 in (149 x 261 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Judgment of Paris c. 1635-38 Oil on panel 57 x 76 1/4 in (144.8 x 193.7 cm) National Gallery, London

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Rubens, Peter Paul Portrait of Isabella Brant c. 1625-26 Oil on panel 33 7/8 x 28 3/8 in (86 x 72 cm) Uffizi, Florence

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Rubens, Peter Paul Self-portrait with Isabella Brant c. 1610 Oil on canvas 174 x 132 cm Alte Pinakothek, Munich

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Rubens, Peter Paul Holy Family with St Elizabeth ("Madonna of the Basket") c. 1615 Oil on canvas 44 7/8 x 34 5/8 in (114 x 88 cm) Pitti, Florence

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Rubens, Peter Paul Self-portrait with Justus Lipsius, Philip Rubens, and Jan Wowerius, known as The Four Philosophers c. 1611-12 Oil on panel 167 x 143 cm Pitti, Florence

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Four Evangelists c. 1614 Canvas 87 3/8 x 105 5/16 in (224 x 270 cm) Schloss Sanssouci, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Elevation of the Cross c. 1610-11 Central panel of triptych altarpiece 462 x 341 cm Cathedral, Antwerp

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Descent from the Cross 1611-14 Oil on panel (Central panel of triptych altarpiece) 420 x 310 cm Cathedral, Antwerp

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Rubens, Peter Paul Dance of the Villagers c. 1636 Oil on board 28 3/4 x 41 3/4 in (73 x 106 cm) Museo del Prado, Madrid

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Rubens, Peter Paul Helene Fourment and Her Children, Claire-Jeanne and Francois c. 1636-37 Oil on wood 45 1/4 x 33 1/2 in (115 x 85 cm) Musee du Louvre, Paris

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Rubens, Peter Paul Andromeda c. 1638 Oak 73 11/16 x 36 11/16 in (189 x 94 cm) Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin

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Rubens, Peter Paul Allegory on the blessings of peace 1629-30 Oil on canvas 203.5 x 298 cm (80 1/8 x 117 1/4 in.) National Gallery, London

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Rubens, Peter Paul Daniel in the Lion's Den c. 1615 Oil on canvas 88 1/4 x 130 1/8 in. (224.3 x 330.4 cm) National Gallery of Art, Washington

 RUBENS_HELENA

Rubens, Peter Paul Rubens, his wife Helena Fourment, and their son Peter Paul c. 1639 Oil on wood 80 1/4 x 62 1/4 in. (203.8 x 158.1 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Garden of Love c. 1630-32 Oil on canvas 78 x 111 3/8 in. (198 x 283 cm) Prado, Madrid

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Rubens, Peter Paul The Union of Earth and Water c. 1618 Oil on canvas 87 1/2 x 71 in. (222.5 x 180.5 cm) Hermitage, St. Petersburg

 RUBENS_BACCHUS

Rubens, Peter Paul Bacchus 1638/40 Oil on canvas, transferred from panel 75 x 63 1/2 in. (191 x 161.3 cm) Hermitage, St. Petersburg

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of a Woman. Oil on wood. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Self-Portrait. c.1639. Oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

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Peter Paul Rubens. An Old Woman with a Chafing-Dish. 1616-1618. Oil on wood. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Young Woman with an Ostrich Plum. 1632-1635. Chalk on paper. British Museum, London, UK.

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Peter Paul Rubens. St. Peter Finding the Tribute Money. c.1618. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Hercules Drunk, Being Led Away By a Nymph and a Satyr. c.1611. Oil on wood. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Fur Cloak (Helene Fourment). 1636-1639. Oil on panel. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Destiny of Marie de' Medici. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Birth of Marie de' Medici. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Marie's Education. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Flight from Blois. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Treaty of Angoulême. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Queen's Reconciliation with Her Son. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Triumph of Truth. 1621-1625. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Death of Seneca. c.1615. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of Marie de' Medici. c.1622. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Tiberius and Agrippina. c. 1614. Oil on wood. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of Isabella Brant (?). c.1626. Oil on panel. Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of Isabella Brant. 1625-1626. Oil on panel. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Judith with the Head of Holofernes. 1620-1622. Oil on canvas. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Self-Portrait without a Hat. c.1639. Oil on canvas. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy.

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Peter Paul Rubens. St. Jerome. 1615. Oil on canvas. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of a Lady with a Rosary. c.1609-1610. Oil on panel. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano-Castagnola, Switzerland.

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Peter Paul Rubens. The Champion of Virtue (Mars), Crowned by the Goddess of Victory. 1615-1616. Oil on canvas. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Democritus. 1603. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of the Lady-in-Waiting of the Infanta Isabella. 1620s. Oil on panel. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Peter Paul Rubens. Portrait of a Woman. c.1608. Oil on canvas. Art Museum, Bucharest, Romania.