Who amongst us, if he were to attempt in reality to represent a celebrated work of Apelles or Timanthus, such as Pliny describes them, but would produce something absurd, or perfectly foreign to the exalted greatness of the ancients? Each one, relying on his own powers, would produce some wretched, crude, unfermented stuff, instead of an exquisite old wine, uniting strength and mellowness, outraging those great spirits whom I endeavour reverently to follow, satisfied, however, to honour the marks of their footsteps, instead of supposingI acknowledge it candidlythat I can ever attain to their eminence even in mere conception, Rubens
Pieter Pauwel (Peter Paul) Rubens (June 28, 1577 May 30, 1640) was a Flemish artist, and considered by many people, one of the greatest painters in European art history (together with Rembrandt van Rijn), and the most important Flemish painter of the 17th century.
Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia, to a successful Protestant lawyer, who had fled Antwerp to escape religious persecution. After his father's death, Rubens and his mother returned to Antwerp, where he had himself baptized a Catholic. Religion figured prominently in much of his later work.
In Antwerp, his mother apprenticed Rubens to leading painters of the time.
In 1600, he went to Italy, where he worked as a court painter to the duke of Mantua. He studied ancient Roman art and learned by copying the works of the Italian masters. His mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.
Upon the death of his mother in 1608, Rubens returned to Antwerp. A year later, he married Isabella Brant, the daughter of Jan Brant, a leading Antwerp humanist. His altar pieces The Raising of the Cross (1610) and The Descent of the Cross (1611-1614) for the Cathedral of Our Lady established Rubens as Flanders' leading religious painter.
He received numerous commissions from the French court, including a series of allegorical paintings on the life of Marie de' Medici (now in the Louvre). He and his workshop executed many monumental religious paintings, such as the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the Cathedral of Antwerp.
Paintings related to Greek Mythology
Achilles' death. Paris doodt Achilles. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon. Achilles vertoornd op Agamemnon. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Perseus releases Andromeda. Gemälde Galerie Kulturforum, Berlin.
Calydonian Hunters, Künsthistorische Museum, Wien
Boreas 1 & Orithyia 2. Boreas abducting Orithyia 2. 1577-1640. Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildende Künste, Wien.
Der Tugendheld (Mars), von der Siegesgöttin bekrönt um 1616. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.
Dianas Heimkehr von der Jagd, um 1616. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.
Chiron ondericht Achilles. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
"Die drei Grazien. Rubens und mitarbeiter", The three Graces, Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildende Künste, Wien.
Der trunkene Herkules von einer Nymphe und einem Satyrn geführt. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Leda mit dem Schwan. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.
Judgment of Paris ca 1636 (National Gallery, London)
Quos ego! Neptun, die Wogen beschwichtigend, um 1635. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
The Rape of Ganymede
Abduction of Hippodamia, c. 1637-1638.
In the period between 1621 and 1630, the Spanish Habsburg rulers entrusted Rubens with a number of diplomatic missions by. King Charles I of England knighted him for his diplomatic efforts to bring about a peace treaty between England and Spain. He was also commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Banqueting House at the Palace of Whitehall.
In 1630, four years after the death of his first wife, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Helen Fourment. Rubens had three children with Isabella and five with Helen; his youngest child was born eight months after his death. Helen's charms recur in later works such as The Garden of Love, The Three Graces and The Judgment of Paris, which he painted for the Spanish court and are now in the Prado.
Rubens died of gout at age 63, and was interred in Saint James' church, Antwerp, Belgium.
At a Sotheby's auction on July 10, 2002, Rubens' painting The Massacre of the Innocents sold for £49.5million ($76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.
Painting for peace
His picture in the National Gallery, London, The Allegory of Peace and War (http://gallery.euroweb.hu/html/r/rubens/3allegor/) (1629), reflects, and even illustrates, his strong concern for peace. It was given to King Charles I and helped to create a peace treaty between London and Madrid. He visited Holland which was "enemy territory" partly to meet Dutch artists and partly to seek political reconciliation. It was there that he encountered the attitude that courtiers should not use their hands in any art or craft. But because he was such a fine artist, King Philip and King Charles both enjoyed his company as well as his art.
Allegory on the Blessings of Peace is the only surviving Rubens' ceiling painting.
Self-Portrait without a Hat. c. 1639. Oil on canvas. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy.
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