THE GREAT ARTIST - Rubens (1577-1640)
Episode 9: Rubens (1577-1640)
The life of Peter Paul Rubens was perhaps the most active and eventful of any artist in history. He is regarded as the chief exponent of the Baroque style, merging the grace of the Italian High Renaissance with the realism and landscapes genres of the northern tradition. His career mirrors rapidly developing politics of an emergent Europe, as not only did he paint for the Italian nobility, but for the Spanish, French and English courts. Born a Protestant and raised as a Catholic in Antwerp, Rubens found himself on the front line of the Counter Reformation, both as a painter and a diplomat. A highly versatile artist, Rubens was equally at home painting altarpieces, history and mythological scenes, portraits and landscapes. He is perhaps best known for the voluptuous female nudes, which are often found in his large-scale mythological allegories. In Antwerp Rubens ran a highly successful studio, employing many apprentices including Anthony van Dyck, who went on to become court painter to Charles I of England and Scotland. Rubens was the most celebrated painter of the early 17th century, one of the most prolific in history and an artist who did much to develop different genres of painting.
Works featured in this programme include Samson and Delilah (1609, National Gallery, London),
Self Portrait with Isabella Brant (1609-10, Alte Pinakothek, Munich), The Descent from the Cross (1611-14, Antwerp Cathedral, Antwerp), The Life of Marie de'Medici (1621-25, Louvre, Paris), Peace and War (1630, National Gallery, London) and Het Pelsken (The Little Fur) (c.1635-40, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).