Born: 28 June 1577; Siegen, Germany
Died: 30 May 1640; Antwerp, Belgium
Art Movement: Baroque
A Flemish painter, Peter Paul Rubens’ Baroque style emphasized movement, sensuality and color. Although he was raised as a Catholic and painted Counter-Reformation pieces f or the church, he was born into a Protestant family. In 1568, his mother and father fled the Spanish Netherlands due to persecution of Protestants. Jan Rubens, Peter Paul’s father, began a sordid affair with the woman to whom he was court advisor, Anna of Saxony. His father was imprisoned for the affair and two years after his death, Peter and his family returned to Antwerp, in the Netherlands, and beginning at the age of twelve was raised as a Catholic. He began his artistic apprenticeship at age fourteen and completed his education in 1598, when he became an independent master painter.
During his career, Rubens traveled to Italy and Spain, and was influenced by the great works of Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, as well as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. He returned to Antwerp upon his mother’s death in 1608, and remained there as a court painter for the Archduke of Austria, and received special privileges as both a painter and a court diplomat. In 1610, Rubens moved into the house that would become his studio, where he taught students and created most of his paintings. This house has now become the Rubenshius Museum. His most famous students, friends and collaborators were Frans Snyders, Anthony van Dyck, and Jan Brueghel the Elder.