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Peter Paul Rubens Essay

1213 words - 5 pages

Peter Paul Rubens1577-1640Peter Paul Rubens was a man of enlightenment. He was the most sought-after painter in northern Europe during the seventeenth century, he was also a diplomat, linguist, and scholar. His dynamic, emotional style with its rich texture, vivid color, and lively movement has influenced Western art to the present day.Peter Paul Rubens was born in fact from parents in exile, forced by their faith to abandon Antwerp in order to flee the Catholic repression instrumented by the Spanish. The persecution rages everywhere in a bloody way: in France with the slaughter of the Huguenots, tragically known as " Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre" of 1572. But if in Paris Henry the forth sanctions freedom of worship with the Edict of Nantes in 1598, in Flanders the order is picked up by the Archdukes Alberto and Isabella, in whose service Rubens will be from 1610. Religious intolerance re-explodes in 1618 with the Thirty Years War, which upsets Europe until its epilogue in 1648, just eight years after the death of the painter, who in his role as a diplomat had done his utmost for a peaceful resolution to the conflict (Zeri, pg. 40).Rubens education, before being artistic, is literary. The painter is trained on the humanistic texts, and the teaching of this culture informs not only his pictorial work, but his entire life. He is a collector of antiques, passionate reader of the Greek and Latin Classics, and diplomat for important families of the age. Counselor and courtier, he is the owner of a Florentine studio that numbers some of the most famous painters of the age. Finally, he is a writer, and in addition to his book on sculpture, De Imitatione Statuarum , he writes Palaces of Genoa in fluent Italian (Zeri,.pg18).Rubens, while waiting for the completion of a painting, pursues various activities at the same time: receiving guest, listening to the reading of literary texts, dictating letters, and planning trips. The most singular element of his personality is his diplomatic sense. Called to Mantova by Vincenzo Gonzaga, who doesn't have enough funds to commission works to him with regularity, he profits from it by traveling. As his ambassador he goes to Spain where he visit's the monastery of Escorial with Velasquez. Re-entering Antwerp, he becomes the painter of the Archdukes Alberto and Isabella, for whom he goes to London and Madrid, to copy works of art, but also to conclude political business. In 1629 he concludes a peace treaty with England for which he receives an honorary degree in London (Zeri, pg. 41).The last part of his life, even though gladdened by a peaceful marriage and by various honors of recognition, such as the title of knight , Rubens is plague by gout, which progressively strikes his hands and prevents him from painting (Zeri, pg. 26).Rubens introduces a freshness and spontaneity through which his characters integrate themselves gradually into the space. He recovers aerial perspective from Leonardo, and with strong...

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