Baroque and Rococo


Baroque and Rococo Art Map

Peter Paul Rubens


Peter Paul Rubens

(b Siegen, Westphalia, 28 June 1577; d Antwerp, 30 May 1640). Flemish painter, draughtsman and diplomat. He was the most versatile and influential Baroque artist of northern Europe in the 17th century. An educated and urbane member of the Antwerp patriciate, he was employed by the rulers of the southern Netherlands as their ambassador and became painter to the courts of Europe, producing magnificent cycles of allegorical painting glorifying his princely patrons. Rubens’s art blends features of the Italian High Renaissance, with which he became acquainted during a prolonged visit to Italy, with northern realism and a love of landscape, derived from Pieter Bruegel the elder. He had a deep knowledge and understanding of Classical art and literature and was unrivalled in his power to turn its most complex themes into vivid images of flesh and blood; his work was a perfect example of the humanistic ideal of ‘UT PICTURA POESIS’. Apart from his paintings—which included altarpieces, history and mythological scenes, portraits and landscapes—he designed tapestries, book illustrations and pageant decorations, as well as his own house and small items of sculpture and metalwork. His affinity with 16th-century Italian traditions is also demonstrated in his wide correspondence, by his art collection and by the organization of his studio. It was this last that alone enabled him to meet the immense demand for his work; often a composition would be executed by assistants from a drawing or sketch by Rubens, who then added the finishing touches to the work. His numerous pupils and assistants included Anthony van Dyck, and frequent collaboration with other established artists was necessary for him to complete his huge workload. Rubens’s style was overwhelming and few contemporary artists withstood its influence; later generations of often very diverse artists derived much from his art and, indeed, a whole style of painting came to bear his name.


Portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria

Oil on canvas, 152 x 99 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington


Duke of Lerma

c. 1603
Oil on canvas, 283 x 200 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid


The Ecstasy of St Gregory the Great

Oil on canvas, 477 x 288 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble


St George Fighting the Dragon

Oil on canvas, 304 x 256 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid


The Battle of the Amazons

c. 1600
Oil on canvas
Bildgalerie, Sanssouci-Potsdam



Oil on canvas, 179 x 66 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid


Hero and Leander

c. 1605
Oil on canvas, 128 x 217 cm
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden


Hero and Leander
c. 1605
Oil on canvas
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden


Venus at her Toilet

c. 1608
Oil on canvas, 137 x 11 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

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