When Peter Paul Rubens died on May 30th, 1640, the world mourned one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Deemed the “prince of painters and painter of princes” by one of his contemporaries, Rubens, like Leonardo and Michelangelo, was an artist who saw great success in his own lifetime.
His warm, voluptuous style was coveted by many royal patrons. On behalf of Spain, he was appointed court painter to Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella in 1609, and continued in Isabella’s service after Albert’s death (1621), contributing not only his talent as a painter, but also his skills in diplomacy.
While he ultimately failed in his mission to broker peace between Flanders and the Dutch Republic to the north, Rubens did help to end hostilities between Spain and England, and was knighted by both King Charles I of England and King Philip IV of Spain. The artist earned the respect and patronage of each king, and completed some truly spectacular commissions for them, including nine canvases which adorned the ceiling of Charles I’s Banqueting House in London.
If I were ranking my favourite artists, Peter Paul Rubens most definitely secures a spot in my top 5. This Flemish Baroque painter, born June 28, 1577, was incredibly versatile in his subject matter. His vast portfolio includes Counter-Reformation altarpieces, landscapes and portraits, as well as religious, mythological and allegorical themes. Continue reading