Pieter Pauwel (Peter Paul) Rubens

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 supposing—I acknowledge it candidly—that 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
Piercing Bellerophon Mounted on a Pegasus
Rubens, Peter Paul
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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.


RUBENS, P. P., an artist who realized styles frequently changed, and therefore painted fat people without their clothes. Gordon, Irwin Leslie


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