Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens Peter Paul Rubens was known to be the most prolific and the most renowned Northern European artist of his day. He was also considered as one of the great artists who have largely contributed to and greatly influenced Western art history. He brought together the realistic tradition of Flemish painting and the imaginative themes being used in Italian Renaissance painting and redirected Northern European painting.

Rubens was, first and foremost, a Baroque style painter and was a proponent of the style that emphasized movement, sensuality and color in his paintings. He was best known for his works on portraits, landscapes as well as historical paintings depicting allegorical and mythological themes. During his time, he was able to run a large studio in Antwerp that has been producing paintings much sought after by nobility and art collectors of his day. He was probably one of the few painters who were able to enjoy the fruits of his success and fame while he was still alive.

Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia, to Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelincks. His father was a Calvinist who, along with Rubens mother, fled Antwerp for Cologne in 1568, after much persecution was being handed over to Protestants during the rule of the Duke of Alba in the Netherlands. But Rubens was raised a Catholic since his father died while Rubens was still a small child and caring for him was left in the hands of his mother, who left for Antwerp after the death of Rubens father. Rubens was raised in a religious upbringing that it had a great influence in many of his works and was even able to become one of the leading proponents of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting.

Rubens started painting at the young age of fourteen by becoming an apprentice to a little known painter named Tobias Verhaeght. He eventually was able to study under two of Antwerp’s leading painters at that time, Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen, the experience of which greatly influenced and further honed his talent in the arts. Along the way he was able to learn more about other art styles through his travels in other art capitals in the world during that time and studied hard to emulate the different styles and techniques in his own works.

Through the years Rubens became a favorite of a number of noble families for art commissions which became a prized item for collectors even during his time. Rubens was known as a prolific painter who did a lot of religious paintings as well as historic paintings which usually contained mythological subjects. The portraits that he did were those usually of his friends and even those of himself as the subject. It was only later on in his life that he started painting several of his well known landscape artworks.

Today, most of Rubens prized creations consistently fetch handsome amounts at the auction houses as they are considered to be much sought after pieces of art. His “Massacre of the Innocents” was sold for a staggering $76.2 million dollars to Lord Thompson at Sothesby’s on July 10, 2002.

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