Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) after a few years in Italy, he brought the exuberance of Italian Baroque to North Europe, creating, with an army of assistants, innumerable religious and allegorical paintings for churches and palaces.
These show mastery of drama in large compositions, and love of rich colour and fleshy nudes. He also painted portraits and, in his last years, landscapes.
Rubens entered the Antwerp painters' guild 1598 and went to Italy in 1600, studying artists of the High Renaissance. In 1603 he visited Spain, and in Madrid painted many portraits of the Spanish nobility. From 1604 to 1608 he was in Italy again, and in 1609 he settled in Antwerp and was appointed court painter.
His Raising of the Cross in 1610 and Descent from the Cross 16
11-1614, both in Antwerp Cathedral, show his brilliant painterly style. He went to France in 1620, commissioned by the regent Marie de' Medici to produce a cycle of 21 enormous canvases allegorizing her life (Louvre, Paris).
In 1628 he again went to Madrid, where he met the painter Velazquez. In 1629-1630 he was in London as diplomatic envoy to Charles I, and painted the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
Rubens's portraits range from intimate pictures of his second wife such as Htlene Fourment in a Fur Wrap about 1638 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) to dozens of portraits of royalty.
Why is Peter Paul Rubens famous?
Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish painter, who became court painter to the archduke Albert and his wife Isabella in Antwerp.