Monday, October 17, 2011

Rubens, Peter Paul

Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Peter Paul
mid- to late 1630s
Oil on wood
80 1/4 x 62 1/4 in. (203.8 x 158.1 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640), was a Flemish painter, and a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality. In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar, art collector, and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England.

Rubens married Helena Fourment (his second wife) in 1630, when he was fifty-three and she was sixteen. Helena became the model and the inspiration for many paintings by Rubens dating from the 1630s, particularly those dealing with themes of ideal beauty or love.