Peter Paul Rubens Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1577 - 1640 *** Full Name: Sir Peter Paul Rubens *** Occupation: Flemish Baroque Painter *** Date of Birth: Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28th 1577 *** Place of Birth: Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, Nassau-Dillenburg (now North Rhine Westphalia, Germany) *** Family background: His father was Juan Rubens, a Calvinist, and his mother was Maria Pypelincks, the family fleeing Antwerp for Cologne due to the increase in religious persecution of Protestants. His father would become the legal advisor as well as the lover and father of a child born to Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange *** Early life and childhood: Peter Paul Rubens grew up in Cologne to which the family returned *** Education: Peter Paul Rubens began his education at home, his education was a humanist one and he was taught classic literature as well as Latin *** Peter Paul Rubens died on May 30, 1640
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 1: Peter Paul Rubens was born on June 28th 1577 during a period in history when religious persecution was rife and there were large portions of religious group moving across Europe to escape.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 2: His father would face imprisonment after his affair with the King’s wife. In 1587 his father died and his mother moved back to Cologne the following year.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 3: He was raised by his mother in the Catholic faith.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 4: At the age of fourteen years Peter Paul Rubens began his first apprenticeship for Tobias Verhaeght and later he would study under two of the city’s leading artists of the era, Adam van Noort, a mannerist artist and Otto van Veen.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 5: A lot of his early training involved copying earlier works by such artist as Hans Holbein the Younger’s woodcuts and the engravings of Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 6: His education would be complete by 1598 by which time he was accepted into the Guild of St Luke as an independent master.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 7: Peter Paul Rubens travelled to Italy in 1600 with his first stop in Venice where he was able to see works by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese. He decided to settle in Mantua and the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 8: Peter Paul Rubens was massively influenced by the paintings he had seen in Venice, the compositions and coloring and would show in his later work.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 9: He travelled to Rome with the financial backing of the Duke and he studied the classic Roman and Greek artwork as well as works of the great Italian masters.Peter Paul Rubens Fact 16: Although the Royal court was in Brussels he sought and was given permission to have his studio based in Antwerp.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 10: While there Peter Paul Rubens was introduced to the works of Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and also by the naturalistic work of Caravaggio.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 11: After returning from Rome Peter Paul Rubens was commission to create his first altarpiece, St Helena with the True Cross for Santa Croce in Jerusalem, a Roman church.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 12: Peter Paul Rubens next travelled to Spain where his duties were more of a diplomatic nature and he took gifts to Philip III from the Gonzagas. This would be the first of many missions to combine diplomacy with art.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 13: This return to Italy saw him remain there for the following four years, initially in Mantua and then on to Genoa before Rome.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 14: In 1608 Peter Paul Rubens received word that his mother was gravely ill and so he departed to return home forthwith. Unfortunately she had already passed away before he could reach home but his visit did coincide with the signing of the Treaty of Antwerp which began the Twelve Years’ Truce.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 15: The following year Peter Paul Rubens was appointed as the Royal court painting by Archduke of Austria, Albert VII and his wife the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, the Low Countries sovereigns.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 17: Peter Paul Rubens would also continue to be called upon for diplomatic missions.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 18: In 1609 Isabella Brant, daughter of a leading Antwerp humanist and citizen Jan Brant, became his wife and in 1610 he built a new house with a studio that he designed.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 19: Among many pupils, one of his most famous would be Anthony van Dyke who would soon become one of the leading Flemish portraitist.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 20: Between 1621 and 1630 Peter Paul Rubens diplomatic missions were of crucial importance, The Twelve Year Truce had come to an end and he frequently moved between the Royal courts of Spain and England to try and bring peace between the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 21: His final years saw him remain closer to home although foreign patrons still occupied much of his time.
Peter Paul Rubens Fact 22: On May 30, 1640 Peter Paul Rubens died of heart failure largely as a result of chronic gout. His body was laid to rest in Saint Jacob’s Church in Antwerp.
List of Works by Peter Paul Rubens:
*** Portrain of a Young Woman with a Rosary c. 1609 *** Infant Isabella Clara Eugenia c. 1615 *** Diana Returning from Hunt c. 1615 *** The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus c. 1617 *** Portrait of the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria c. 1606 *** Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain c. 1628/1629 *** Landscape with Milkmaids and Cattle c. 1618 *** Venus and Adonis and Jupiter and Callisto ***
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