Peter Paul Rubens is the author of many paintings on mythological, landscape and historical themes and images of nudes. Peter Paul Rubens earned recognition during his lifetime, brought up talented students and collected a huge collection of paintings.
Rubens knew how to establish good relations with representatives of the highest authorities of different European countries. The artist often and very successfully carried out the diplomatic missions of crowned persons. The Spanish monarch even granted him the nobility, and the English king granted him the title of knight.
Biography of Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28, 1577 in the small German town of Siegen, where his parents moved from Flanders due to religious persecution. 10 years later, the father of the future artist died, and soon after this sad event, the mother and children returned to Antwerp.
The boy from an early age showed the ability to learn. Foreign languages were especially easy for him. In the Jesuit school, he perfectly studied Latin and got acquainted with ancient culture. Rubens constantly improved his knowledge of linguistics and over the years freely communicated with people not only in his native Dutch, but also in French, German, Italian, English and Spanish.
At the age of 14, the teenager persuaded his mother to send him to study painting. Rubens’ first mentor was the landscape painter and graphic artist Tobias Verhaecht, a distant relative of his mother.
Peter then continued his studies with the portrait painter Adam van Noort and the most famous painter in Antwerp at the time, Otto van Veen. In 1600, Rubens left for Italy, where, thanks to his ability to make acquaintances and the talent of a painter, he managed to enter the service of the Duke of Mantua. As part of the retinue of Vincenzo Gongazy, he visited many centers of Italian art: Rome, Florence, Milan, Genoa.
In 1605, the Duke of Gongaz appointed Rubens as ambassador and sent him to the Spanish king with a collection of paintings. Here, the young painter quickly gained respect and even received an offer to take the position of court painter, but refused the high honor and went to Mantua.
In 1608 Rubens returned to Flanders, married Isabella Brant and opened his workshop. The workshop was a huge success, often those who wished to wait for several years in line to get to study with the master. The artist led a prosperous life, received many orders and painted in different genres. In 1622, Marie de Medici invited Rubens to Paris to decorate her residence, the Luxembourg Palace. The Queen Mother ordered 24 paintings from the artist, and he coped with this task brilliantly.
last years of life
The death of his wife in 1626 was a heavy blow for the master. For 4 years he moved away from art and took up the diplomatic service: he took part in negotiations and carried out official missions in the capitals of England and Spain. In December 1630, the already middle-aged Rubens married for the second time to 16-year-old Helen Fourman. He adored his new lover and painted many of her portraits. Elena bore Peter 5 children and remained a muse until the death of the artist.
Peter Paul Rubens died on May 30, 1640, leaving his heirs a huge fortune at that time 400,000 florins. Thanks to this, the widow and children could live comfortably for many years.
Fate favorably reacted to Peter Paul Rubens. His works were hardly criticized during his lifetime, the artist led a luxurious life and was in great demand among wealthy customers. And today, the paintings of the great master adorn the expositions of museums and the collections of the richest connoisseurs of art.