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Antwerp’s world famous painter Peter Paul Rubens

As the Rubens House is one of the most popular attractions in Antwerp, and we are very proud of his magnificent skills, I would like to introduce you to an amazing painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens.

Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, Germany. Rubens began his education in Cologne, then in Antwerp. After an artistic training from Tobias Verhaegt, Adam Van Noort and Otto van Veen (Otto Venius), he joined the Antwerp Guild as a master.

Rubens Self-portrait 1623

On May 9, 1600, he left for Italy, where he is influenced by the art of antiquity. During this period he learned much from the painter Caravaggio. In 1601 he traveled to Florence and Rome where he makes acquaintance with the Greek and Roman art and copies work of the Italian masters. In Rome he painted his first altarpiece for the Santa Helena altar in the Church of the Holy Cross.

After spending time as a court painter for >the Archduke Albert of Austria and Isabella of Spain, in 1609 Ruebens married his first wife Isabella Brant in Antwerp.

Peter Paul Rubens 105

In 1610 he founded the large building on the Wapper which is still the Rubens House, as a workshop. The master himself often painted portraits with only a face and hands and left a rough outline for the apprentices who would finish the paintings, so he could accept many assignments rapidly.

The productivity of the master is amazing. Between 1621 and 1625 Rubens painted 24 works for the Palais du Luxembourg. His largest piece ever was “The Disembarkation of Queen Marie de Medici in Marseille” which hangs in the Louvre, Paris

Peter Paul Rubens 035

In 1630, four years after the death of his first wife, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Helene Fourment. Helene inspired the voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s, such as The Feast of Venus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), The Three Graces (Prado, Madrid) and The Judgment of Paris (Prado, Madrid).

Suffering from gout, he died in the Rubens House in Antwerp on May 30, 1640. He is buried in St. James' Church in Antwerp. Above his grave stands an image of Mary from the hand of his apprentice Luke Faydherbe Mechelen sculptor and architect, and during the last three years of Rubens life, living and working in Rubens' studio on Wapper where he became his confidant.

Since 1843 you can find a statue from Rubens on the Groenplaats square as well.

The Rubens House

The Rubens House became a home in old Flemish style along with a lavish Southern Baroque studio with a beautiful garden.

Rubenhuis (Rubens House), Wapper 9-11, 2000 Antwerpen

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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