Peter Paul Rubens Biography
Peter Paul Rubens also known as Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition.
Rubens’ highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation.
Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
Peter Paul Rubens Style
Rubens combined various technical methods and genres and his subject matter consisted of religious figures, historical works, hunting scenes and animals, portraits and landscapes.
His religious figures were inspired by the Bible and were largely commissioned by the church or by the artist’s wealthy patrons who liked to show their devotion. To create these paintings, Rubens drew on the classic Italian iconographical aspects in elevating the religious subjects in utmost splendor and symbolism.
Rubens mainly depicted historical figures from the classical style of ancient Greek and Roman mythological heroes and heroines. He continued to portray them in splendor, stylishly and with aspects of eroticism. He enjoyed painting the human body in various dramatic and contorting positions and his bodies were usually draped in exotic materials or naked.
Hunting scenes and animals:
Rubens was highly fascinated with painting wild and exotic beasts and the textures of their furs in particular. He would use animal pelts in many of his works to create an erotic feel.
Rubens created many portraits for his royal and aristocratic affiliates, friends and family. He portrayed many of his wealthy and royal subjects in exuberance, befitting their status. His works were not as formal as the predominant artistic style but Rubens created a rich Baroque style in his portraits that made him popular.
He painted many landscapes after he married with his second wife, Helena. The artist started to appreciate nature on a more intimate level and depicted dramatic scenes as the weather conditions overrode the lands, creating a deep psychological aspect. Rubens aimed to depict the beauty of life in these works as it was in realistic terms but not without the common emotional aspect he wanted his viewers to ponder.
Rubens’ drawings were not full of detail but instead contained long, fluid hand movements in free style. He drew onto the canvas and practiced various aspects, subjects and objects on numerous sketched papers. While in Spain he frequently sketched the works of Titian at the King’s court.
Most of Rubens’ drawings served as preliminary practices in dimension, scope and detail before executing the final work but there are a few sketches that were independent works in their own right. For his drawings he would use trois crayons – colored chalks in pale browns, whites, blues, blacks and reds, the latter of which were used for flesh tones and flushed faces. Sometimes Rubens would draw or sketch in brown inks on a grisaille paper.
Rubens is known for his bold, swift strokes that eluded his passion and vigor as he painted and conveyed the drama of each scene. However, he did not neglect more intricate details in his various objects and subjects.
Fond of painting scenes where there were numerous people, Rubens’ works often had an overflowing effect. He would include various other elements to add effect, such as nimbus clouds and his landscapes in particular draw on the Flemish tradition of painting in great detail.
Peter Paul Rubens Self portrait
Signed and dated 1623
Oil on panel | 85.7 x 62.2 x 0.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)
This is an interesting piece of self-promotion; it does not advertise Rubens’s invention, figure drawing or story-telling, important elements of his art.
Instead we see purely pictorial qualities at their most intense: contrast of light and dark, with shades of deep black and a softly luminous face; strong accents of colour on the face and sky (again contrasting with the areas of black); variations of paint application from thinly scrubbed areas in the background, where brown underpaint shows through, to the thick, mobile rivers of oil paint, drawn by the brush, over the face. Rubens’s ‘owne hand’ is obviously and everywhere at work.
Peter Paul Rubens The Raising of the cross
The Elevation of the Cross is the name of two paintings, a triptych painting, and an oil on paper painting, both by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. The triptych painting was the first to be completed in 1610-1611.
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens
Dimensions: 4.62 m x 6.4 m
Location: Cathedral of Our Lady
Subject: Passion of Jesus
Genres: Christian art, History painting, Religious image
Peter Paul Rubens The Three Graces
The Three Graces is an oil painting of the Three Graces by Rubens.
(Grace is one of three or more minor goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility, together known as the Charites or Graces.)
The painting was held in the personal collection of the artist until his death, then in 1666 it went to the Royal Alcazar of Madrid, before hanging in the Museo del Prado.
There were other variations by Rubens on the theme of Three Graces.
Peter Paul Rubens Massacre of the Innocents
The Massacre of the Innocents is the subject of two paintings depicting the episode of the biblical Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem, as related in the Gospel of Matthew, Ch.2, vs.13-18.
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens
Subject: Massacre of the Innocents
Media: Oil paint, Panel painting
Peter Paul Rubens Saturn
Saturn or Saturn Devouring His Son is a 1636 painting by the Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens, now in the Museo del Prado.
It was commissioned for the Torre de la Parada by Philip IV of Spain and shows the influence of Michelangelo on Rubens, which he had picked up on his journey to Italy. The three stars at the top of the painting represent the planet Saturn as described by Galileo a few years before its painting. The central star is the planet itself, whilst the two others represent what he thought were two stars aligned with the planet. In reality, these were the rings around the planet, which his telescope was not powerful enough to distinguish.
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens