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Creator: Peter Paul Rubens
The master of baroque painting.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a 16th-17th century Flemish painter, widely praised for his rich and warm, colorful paintings. Back in his time he was one of the most popular, richest and celebrated European painters, working for several royal courts.

His work depicts Biblical, historical and mythological subjects. Rubens also made portraits of his friends, family members and himself. Rubens was one of the few historical painters who became rich with his work. Some of his assistants and pupils later became famous painters in their own right, like Anthony Van Dyck, David Teniers and Jacob Jordaens.

Not to be confused with American actor Paul Reubens.

This artist provides examples of:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: He painted a famous portrait of them.
  • Anachronism Stew: Done intentionally for effect. While many of Rubens's paintings depict events from The Bible or Classical Mythology, they take place in landscapes clearly defined by early modern reality, with characters dressed in clothing and carrying weapons from the 17th century.
  • Actually That's My Assistant: Rubens had a lot of assistants who helped him during painting and so it's often difficult to tell which (parts of his) paintings were made by himself?
  • The Bible: Like every painter in his time Rubens painted a lot of biblical themes, though always taking place in his own lifetime: "Samson and Delilah", "The Elevation of the Cross", "Adam and Eve", "The Massacre Of The Innocents",...
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Rubens is well known for featuring nude chubby and fat women, true to the beauty ideal of his time.
  • Classical Mythology: A recurring theme.
  • Cool Hat: Rubens usually wears a large hat in his self-portraits.
  • Judgement Of Paris: He painted three different versions of this story.
  • Never Live It Down: Despite painting more versatile subjects besides full-figured women he is mostly remembered for these types of paintings.
  • Person as Verb: The adjective "Rubenesque" used to refer to a Big Beautiful Woman gets its etymology from the paintings of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, who commonly painted nudes of larger women.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: In Japan Rubens is famous for being an important plot point in the novel A Dog of Flanders. Most Japanese tourists who visit Belgium will go to the Antwerp Cathedral to see Rubens' paintings as protagonist Nello and Patrasche do in the book.
  • Renaissance Man: In addition to being an acclaimed painter and draughtsman, Rubens was also a spy and a diplomat who served the infanta Isabella of the Spanish Netherlands and Philip IV of Spain. He was knighted by Philip IV and Charles I of England.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Rubens made a lot of portraits of himself, his wife and children.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Some scenes are still a mystery to art historians.
  • Rule of Symbolism: As with most art of his time symbolism is rampant.
  • Samson and Delilah: He devoted a painting to the subject.
  • Suske en Wiske: He played an important role in the albums "De Raap van Rubens" and "De Krimson Crisis".

Norman RockwellArtistsRufftoon

alternative title(s): Peter Paul Rubens
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