Peter Paul Rubens

Rubens, Kruisafneming, OLV Kathedraal © - Art in Flanders vzw

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) is one of the greatest painters in European art history. This godfather of Baroque was a genius with a paintbrush, but also an architect, linguist, diplomat, art collector and prominent member of Antwerp society.

Peter Paul Rubens, Baroque master

Rubens was multi-talented. He personified Baroque, with impressively large canvases, grand gestures and a great gift for pathos. Much of his oeuvre remains larger than life to this day. He was also capable of working in fine, exacting detail. The result is a breathtakingly expansive body of work, with paintings, drawings, book illustrations and even tapestries. The great master left behind approximately 2,500 compositions and 10,000 works of art. In the centuries since, many of these works have found their way to the world’s major museums. Still, his home base Antwerp is where you’ll get to know the master best of all.

After an instructive period in Italy, he returned to his birthplace. He then bought a house and transformed it into a city palace of his own. The artist and architect drew up the plans himself in the style of the Italian Renaissance. The result was a splendid palazzo, complete with artist’s studio, garden pavilion and sculpture museum.

Groenplaats Antwerpen ©Sigrid Spinnox
Rubenshuis ©Beeldarchief collectie Antwerpen

He lived and worked here for over half his life. This is where he created countless masterpieces. The palazzo continues to honour its spiritual father. It is now a museum, known as the Rubens House, and various masterpieces of his can be admired here. Where else can you be closer to Rubens’ life and work?

The rest of the city is just as proud to be marked by Rubens. The Cathedral of Our Lady contains four of his monumental paintings. In Saint James’ Church, where Rubens and his family are buried, one of his pieces is displayed above the altar. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) also has an impressive collection of his work. The Rubens halls are the beating heart of the renovated KMSKA.

After all, Rubens is Antwerp, and vice versa.

Rubens in Flanders

Peter Paul Rubens and Antwerp go together. Both as an artist and diplomat, he worked to make the city the metropolis it is now. Its grandeur continues. Take a journey through Antwerp, surrounded by Rubens’s genius.

Rubenshuis ©Noortje Palmers

Follow us on @The Flemish Masters