Peter Paul Rubens

Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens
Self-Portrait - Peter Paul Rubens

Born: 28 June 1577; Siegen, Germany

Died: 30 May 1640; Antwerp, Belgium

Field: painting

Nationality: Flemish

Art Movement: Baroque

School or Group: Flemish School, Antwerp School

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.

Throughout his life, he was relied upon not only as a master painter, but one whose diplomat talents were required by many a court. Between 1627 and 1630, he traveled between England and Spain, in attempts to create a truce between the two nations. He was knighted by both the Spanish monarch, Philip V, and the English King, Charles I. Cambridge University also awarded him an honorary Master’s Degree.

Four years after the death of his first wife, Rubens, who was 53 years old at the time, was married to a 16 year old named Helene Fourment, whom he used as model in many of his later paintings. His fondness for the full figured woman has since spurned the term “Rubenesque,” which is still used in Dutch to refer to such women.

Wikipedia article

Artworks by Style


Artworks by Series

The Medici Cycle

Artworks by Genre

history painting

battle painting

religious painting

mythological painting

allegorical painting

genre painting



nude painting (nu)


animal painting


sketch and study


Artworks by Technique