Peter Paul Rubens [1577 – 1640]

Self Portrait
Flemish artist and diplomat

Peter Paul Rubens

was born,
28 June, 1577
in the city of Siegen, Germany.

He is considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens’s highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens was a painter producing altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. He was also a prolific designer of cartoons for the Flemish tapestry workshops and of frontispieces for the publishers in Antwerp.
In addition to running a large workshop in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Rubens was a prolific artist.
The catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop.
(From Wikipedia)

So here’s a glimpse of his work & words
The Fall of Phaeton [National Gallery of Art]

“I’m just a simple man standing alone with my old brushes, asking God for inspiration.”

Pastoral Scene
Venus at the Mirror

“Every child has the spirit of creation. The rubbish of life often exterminates the spirit through plague and a soul’s own wretchedness.”

The Rainbow Landscape
The Judgement of Paris

“White is poison to a picture: use it only in highlights.”

The Fall of Man
The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus

“Painting a young maiden is similar to cavorting with great abandon. It is the finest refreshment.”

The Château Het Steen with Hunter
Portrait of a Young Woman with a Rosary

“I paint a woman’s big rounded buttocks so that I want to reach out and stroke the dimpled flesh.”

Jupiter and Callisto
The Three Graces
Portrait of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

“My passion comes from the heavens, not from earthly musings.”

Old Woman and Boy with Candles
Descent from the Cross
Landscape with the Ruins of Mount Palatine in Rome

“My talent is such that no undertaking, however vast in size… has ever surpassed my courage.”

Portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria
Landscape with Milkmaids and Cattle
Portrait of King Philip IV of Spain

“I can tell you truly, without exaggeration, that I have had to refuse over one hundred [assistants], even some of my own relatives or my wife’s, and not without causing displeasure among many of my best friends”

Venus and Adonis
Virgin and child with saints
Venus, Cupid, Baccchus and Ceres
Portrait of Anna of Austria, Queen of France

“At present, I have in the house the flower of my stock, particularly some pictures which I have kept for my own enjoyment; some I have even repurchased for more than I had sold them to others”

Evening landscape with timber wagon

“The English are increasing their insolence and barbarity. They cut to pieces the captain of a ship coming from Spain and threw all the crew into the sea for having defended themselves valiantly”

Equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma

“The offers are very generous but I have little desire to become a courtier again”

Diana and her Nymphs surprised by the Fauns

“Nearby.. ..are monsters personifying Pestilence and Famine, those inseparable partners of War”

Diana Returning from Hunt

“For the future I believe there will not fail to be difficulties over the subjects of the other gallery, which ought to be easy and free from scruples”

Prometheus Bound

“This war seems without purpose.. strange that Spain, which provides so little for the needs of this country .. has an abundance of means to wage an offensive war elsewhere”

Ermit and sleeping Angelica

“I am by nature and inclination a peaceful man, the sworn enemy to disputes, lawsuits and quarrels both public and private”

Rubens and Isabella Brandt [artist’s wife], the Honeysuckle Bower
Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism



The music I’ve chosen is from a composer of the late Renaissance, chief representative of the mature polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school and One of the most significant composers of all times [not just renaissance]!
As Rubens, enjoyed so much painting the human body [female especially] I chose this song… for a translation of this song, check the video [still laughing! ;-)]

Orlande de Lassus [1532 – 1594]

Matona, mia cara

S: Sara Botkin, Melissa Raymond, Cynthia Shaw
A: Grace Check, Ariane Reinhart
T: Thom Baker, Marcos Vigil
B: Steve Friedman, Gregg Lauterbach, Mark Sullivan

For more information on Rubens:


Be Safe 🏡

80 replies »

  1. Those ruff collars are a HOOT!!!!!
    This music is gorgeous!
    🦉😶‍🌫️ xo🦉😶‍🌫️ xo🦉😶‍🌫️ xo🦉😶‍🌫️ xo🦉😶‍🌫️ xo🦉😶‍🌫️ xo
    (😶‍🌫️closest thing to a ruff collar)

  2. Excellent tribute and his birthday corresponds with my daughters today… 🙂 Love the Old woman with boy and Candle and the silver silk gown on the Portrait of Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria. Very hard I would imagine to create that shine ..
    A very versatile artist..
    Many thanks for sharing.. I enjoyed browsing through them all.. ❤

  3. You probably know that mirrors were a big deal back then… a sign of technological and social status. People of means had specialists make them in foreign lands, so I remember… Now, the Romans, Greeks and Biblical characters whom the neoclassicists painted, didn’t have proper mirrors! Can you imagine going through life and only seeing yourself through polished silver (or whatever they used in the ancient world). Things we take for granted today were huge luxuries back then… I’m not sure when ice cream hit the scene. But I’m sure Caesar would have loved it! 😇

    • Oh, I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Holly. I’ve got Chagall for tomorrow [his birthday], …I hope I make it! Taking so much time to do these! 😉

  4. Very intense!!! I’ve always liked his art, that I know about. My fave here, “The Three Graces”.
    He produced so much art, he must have painted in his sleep!
    FAB post, Marina! (WP is still working on my problem!)

    • “painted in his sleep”!!!!!! I think so too!!!!!!!
      A great great master painter…. they don’t make’em like this anymore! 😉

    • A ha ha… yes, he could! He’s not considered a master with no reason! 😉 Eventhough his nudes are exquisitely done (dimples et all!), I admire even more the intricately dressed figures! 😉

      • I see what you say from an art perspective. From a socio-historical one, I wonder how many repressions or perhaps hidden and deflected lusts were buried underneath all that finery! 😊🙄😁

        • If you think about it our skin is just another kind of ‘clothing’, and if you go further in there are layers and layers of thoughts / beliefs to hide or repress whatever …lurks deeper whithin! 😉 So I can only see it from an art perspective and I’m certain I’m not at all objective (I’ve got my own layers of seeing!)… go figure! 🥴😄😉

  5. Wow, how wonderful, Marina, and such amazing talent! Thank you for all the time that goes into compiling these beautiful and educational posts. You are amazing! Sending hugs, my friend! 💗💗💗

  6. So many places to click on your new page/site. This one on Rubens is just beautiful. We will always treasure the masters.

  7. Another labor of love, your compilation of Rubens’ paintings and words. His pacifism and passion are remarkable. The term Rubenesque really comes to life, one which takes on more meaning for a woman as she ages 😉 One thing that stands out is his limited use of white (as he explains), silver and turquoise in some portraits…simply stunning. Another is his use of candlelight (Old Woman and Boy with Candles) which is strongly similar to his French Baroque contemporary, Georges de La Tour. Thank you again! xoxoxo

    • Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed this! It was from him I first heard about white being a killer and its stayed with me. It’s one of those things you get taught as a child and you follow uninquisitively! 😉 Also that painting of the candle lit faces is another huge lesson! Many hugs and xoxoxo

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