Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a Flemish Baroque Painter living in Antwerp. He was a proponent of the Flemish art style, which included movement, color, and sensuality. He is well known for his religious altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. His travels to Italy and Spain allowed him to be influenced by other masters including Titian, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Our collection of patterns includes Honeysuckle Bower, The Elevation of the Cross, Venus at the Mirror, and Prometheus Bound.

Patterns Included In This Set:

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Honeysuckle Bower

The Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma

The Elevation of the Cross

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The Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia

Prometheus Bound

Portrait of Hélène Fourment

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The Château de Steen with Hunter

Isabella d'Este

Vincenzo II Gonzaga

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Portrait of Suzanne Fourment

Head of a Franciscan Monk

Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

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The Union of Earth and Water

Woman with a Mirror

Self Portrait

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The Consequences of War

The Cardinal-Infante

Landscape with a Rainbow

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Self Portrait

The Duke of Buckingham

The Straw Hat

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Marie de Medici

Mars and Rhea Silvia

Virgin and Child

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Daniel in the Lion's Den

Venus at a Mirror

The Crucified Christ

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The Mantuan Circle of Friends

Portrait of a Man

Saint Felix of Cantalice

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St. James the Apostle

Portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria

Virgin and Child

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The Emperor Charles V

Leda and the Swan

The Four Philosophers

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Portrait of a Woman

Bacchus

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Sir Peter Paul Rubens (June 28, 1577 – May 30, 1640) was a Flemish painter of the Baroque school who is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. His works combine Flemish realism with the freedom and sensuality of the Renaissance, and they had a tremendous influence on other Flemish artists. Rubens was unique as an artist in that he was also a diplomat and an important political figure.

Rubens was born in Siegen, Germany in 1577. He was the sixth child in a family of devoted Calvinists who had been forced to flee Antwerp. His father died in exile in 1587 and two years later his mother took the family back to Antwerp where she raised her children as Roman Catholics. Catholicism would become a dominant force in Rubens’ work.

In 1598, when he was just 21 years old, Rubens was admitted to the Antwerp painters’ guild. Two years later he traveled to Italy to study the works of the Renaissance masters. The Duke of Mantua, who had a splendid collection of paintings, hired him as court painter, and Rubens was able to study at first hand the works of Veronese, Tintoretto, Titian and Caravaggio. The influence of their use of color and form would remain visible in his mature style for years to come. Even after Rubens returned to Antwerp, he would continue writing letters in Italian and he signed his name as “Pietro Paolo Rubens.”

The Duke of Mantua sent Rubens to Rome in 1601 to make copies of great Italian works and it was there that he obtained his first important commission for a Roman church: an altarpiece known as St. Helena with the True Cross.

In 1603 Rubens was sent on his first diplomatic mission: to deliver gifts from the Duke of Mantua to King Philip III of Spain. This journey not only gave him a unique opportunity to see the works of Titian and Raphael in the royal collection, but was also to be the first of many such missions combining art and diplomacy.

In 1608 Rubens received word that his mother was dying and he left Italy immediately. By the time he reached Antwerp his mother had already passed away.

Although Rubens had every intention of returning to Italy, a country he considered his spiritual home, success tied him to Antwerp. His reputation had gone before him and, aged 33 he became court painter to the acting rulers of the Spanish Netherlands, the Archduke Albert and the Archduchess Isabella. Rubens was so successful that the Archduke granted him permission to keep his studio in Antwerp instead of being based at the court in Brussels. But success came with a price; Rubens would never be free to return to Italy.

In 1609 Rubens married Isabella Brant with whom he would have three children. The commissions flooded in, requiring Rubens to hire assistants and apprentices, the most famous of which was Anthony Van Dyck.

Between 1621 and 1630, Rubens undertook a number of diplomatic duties for Archduke Ferdinand and Archduchess Isabella, including negotiating peace treaties between the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, and between England and Spain. Both Charles I of England and Philip IV of Spain knighted him. Charles I also asked him to decorate the ceiling of the Whitehall Palace Banqueting Hall, and Cambridge University granted him an honorary degree.

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1630, four years after the death of his first wife. At the age of 53, he remarried to Helene Fourment, sixteen years old and the daughter of an Antwerp colleague. Helene was the inspiration for the sensual, voluptuous female nudes in his later works. The couple had five children.

In his last years, Rubens retired to the country estate he had purchased in 1635. He devoted himself to painting and to caring for his young family. He died at the age of 64 after suffering from painful arthritis and was buried in Antwerp.

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