Peter Paul Rubens

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Self-Portrait without a hat

Peter Paul Rubens (Pieter Pauwel Rubens) (Siegen, Westphalia, 1577 - Antwerp, Netherlands 1640), Flemish painter, one of the greatest exponent of Baroque painting. He is perhaps best known for his religious and mythological compositions.

In Italy (1600-1608), Rubens studied Titian, Tintoretto, and Raphael, he also met the works of his Italian contemporaries, Caravaggio and Carracci.

Rubens is often called Prince of Baroque painters. In his style he successfully united the features of Northern and Flemish art with those of Italy. He had many pupils that also became excellent baroque masters, like Antony van Dyck (1599-1641).

Rubens was endlessly active. There are thousands of works by his hand, scattered through collections and museums across the world. [1]

The artistic work of his oeuvre frequently features women who would be considered plump by the aesthetic standards preceding and succeeding his era. He broke with these standards because he adored the body and felt heftier women were more beautiful than the skinny Venus de Milo. At this time, being overweight also pointed to the wealth of the person; thus featuring Dutch women with heavier frames was a tribute to Dutch economic prosperity.[2] It is from his paintings that we get the adjective Rubenesque, indicating beauty along with girth or additional weight.

The Assumption of the Virgin
(c. 1612-17)

See also

Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Peter Paul

External links


  1. Biography
  2. It: A History of Human Beauty, Arthur Marwick (Oxford University Press, 2004)
Queen Tomyris before the Head of Cyrus