June 28 1577 – May 30 1640 Baroque ArtistSIR PETER PAUL RUBENS
EARLY LIFE Rubens was born in Sigen, Germany, on June 28, 1577. His father was Jan Rubens and was a Calvinist. His mother Maria Pypelincks was a Catholic. His father passed away in 1587. Rubens moved with his mother Maria to Antwerp, where he was raised as a Catholic in 1589. In Antwerp, Rubens spent time studying Latin and classical literature. At the age of fourteen, he was an apprentice to Tobias Verhaeght. Around the same time, he studied under two of the citys leading painters of the time, Adam Van Noort and Otto van Veen. Much of his early artistic trainning involved him copying earlier artists works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings after Raphael. Rubens finished his education in 1598 and entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master.
TRAVEL AND INFLUENCES In 1600 Rubens traveled to Venice, Italy to study the paintings; Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto then settled in Mantua. Rubens was great inspired and influenced by all three of these works. His use of color and composition stemmed from Veronese and Tintoretto while his mature style was inspired by the Titian. He was also fond of the work of Michaelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. While in Rome, Rubens completed his first alter-piece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross. He traveled to Spain in 1603 in order to deliver gifts as part of a diplomatic mission to Gonzagas from Phillip III. In 1604, it was back to Italy where he spent four more years. His time was spent in Mantua, Genoa, and Rome. It was here he painted several more paintings and began his book that would Illustrate the palaces of the city.
TRAVEL CONTINUED His mother grew ill in 1608 and so Rubens traveled back to Antwerp. He didn’t make it in time to see her before she died. 1609, he was appointed the court painter for the Archduke of Austria, Albert VII and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugene of Spain. In 1610 he moved into what would later become the Rubens Museum. It was his workshop where both he and his apprentices created most of their paintings. It held his personal art collection and library as well. His main pupil consisted of Anthony van Dyck, a Flemish portraitist who collaborated frequently with Rubens. From 1627-1630, Rubens was sent on many diplomatic missions between the courts of Spain and England in order to attempt to bring peace. Rubens had the honor of being knighted, first by Philip IV of Spain in 1624, and then by Charles I of England in 1630. He was awarded an honorary Master of the Arts degree from Cambridge University in 1629.
END OF HIS LIFE His last few years were spent mostly in Antwerp. Commissions for foreign patrons still occupied him, but he also explored more personal artistic directions. In 1630, four years after the death of his first wife, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Hélène Fourment. She was the inspiration for his use of voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s. They included The Feast of Venus, The Three Graces, The Judgment of Paris. In 1635, Rubens bought an estate outside of Antwerp, where he created many of his landscape paintings. Rubens died from heart failure, which resulted from chronic gout on May 30,1640. He was interred in Saint Jacobs church, Antwerp. He was survived by his eight children, three of whom were with his first wife, Isabella and five with Hélène as well as his second wife. His youngest child was born eight months after his death.
RUBEN’S ARTWORK He was most notably remembered for his Baroque-styled paintings consisting of portraits, landscapes, and religious historical pieces, but also for his Counter-Reformation alter-pieces. His Catholic religion truly inspired much of his work, commenting that “My passion comes from the heavens, not from earthly musings.”
ACTIVITY You are going to create a self-portrait This will be done using only the bolder, darker colors. Rubens loved using the dark colors in his paintings because it gave the paintings depth and a feeling of realism.