5 things to know about Rubens

Rubens | autoritratto

Pieter Paul Rubens, Autoritratto, 1630 ca. – Antwerp, Rubens House – © Beeldarchief Collectie Antwerpen. Image source: www.artribune.com


Peter Paul Rubens was a painter who had several interests.
Since his first experiences in the workshops of his masters, he proved to be curious and desirous for knowledge, making a long training journey to Italy, which allowed him to study in depth ancient and modern art, but also to establish relationships with the most refined courts at that time.

5 things to know about Peter Paul Rubens.

Pieter Paul Rubens | Ritratto di bambina

Pieter Paul Rubens, Ritratto di bambina (Clara Serena Rubens), 1618, Vaduz, Fürstlich Liechtensteinische Gemäldegalerie. Image source: wikipedia.org


He was born in Siegen, Germany, but his family was from Antwerp.
His father, involved in the struggles between Catholics and Protestants, had to leave the city together with his family, and only after the death of his father in 1587 Rubens came back to Antwerp.
Since he was a child Rubens showed a formidable talent for art, and in 1593 he attended Adam van Noort’s workshop, the most important artist in Antwerp, and in 1597 he was an apprentice of Vaenius, who made him discover the figurative painting of the Italian Renaissance.


In 1600 Rubens travelled to Italy in order to study ancient and modern masters.
He stopped in Venice, in Mantua, in Florence and eventually in Rome.
In 1603 he settled down in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga, and thanks to him Rubens created several works of art.

Rubens | Ritrovamento di Erittonio

Pieter Paul Rubens, Ritrovamento di Erittonio. Vienna, The Princely Collections – Image source: http://www.palazzorealemilano.it


In 1608 Rubens returned to Antwerp to take care of his mother who was dying.
At this point, he settled down in Antwerp, married Isabella Brant, and set up a workshop containing, among other things, a huge collection of ancient and modern works of art. Rubens ran his workshop like a factory, by using his assistants according to their individual qualifications.


In 1626 Isabella, Ruben’s wife, died and in 1630 the artist married Helena Fourment.
In addition to being a sought-after artist, Rubens was a diplomat and travelled on diplomatic missions, and for this reason he was knighted.
Besides, he was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Cambridge University because he managed to bring peace between England and Spain, peace signed by both Countries precisely in 1630.

Pieter Paul Rubens | Banchetto di Erode,

Pieter Paul Rubens, Banchetto di Erode, 1635 – 1638. Edimburgo, Scottish National Gallery – Image source: www.lineadombra.it


Rubens died from heart failure, which was a result of his chronic gout, on May 30th 1640 in Antwerp, after having decorated Philip IV’s hunting lodge, near Madrid, with 112 paintings.
The big collection of the artist was auctioned.


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