Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Anne d’Autriche, Queen of France, about 1622-1625, oil on canvas, 120 x 98.6 cm, Pasadena (California), The Norton Simon Foundation [© Poster of the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais, 2017]
“Even if, by his birth, he couldn’t claim privileges from among the old and former nobility who made him feel his position, he was regarded with high esteem by sovereigns. Rubens lives and contributes to the enhancement of the art of painting. ”
Until the 14th of January 2018, the Musée du Luxembourg presents a part of the European works of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Through about sixty paintings and eighty-nine items in total, the painter’s work is viewed from the perspective of portraits for the monarchs of the great royal courts, made during his journeys or in his workshop, during the first half of the 17th century. From Italy to France, via Brussels or Spain, the artist was commissioned by the greatest Kings represented in this display through the pictorial technique of portraiture, a genre constantly evolving at this period, due in part to Ruben’s influence.
Journeys through an Europe ruled by Princes
Italy: Patronage of Duke of Mantou
Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of Ferdinand de Gonzague, about 1602-1603, oil on canvas, 81,2 x 56,5 cm, Priv. Coll., courtesy of Nicholas Hall (© courtesy of Christie’s)
Rubens came from a family of Antwerp merchants who fled the town for religious reasons before returning during the late 1580s. He was trained by Otto van Veen, known as Vaenius (1557-1629), a philosopher and mannerist painter marked by Italian influences and who encouraged his pupil to follow his training there. Rubens arrived in Italy in 1600 and stayed there until 1608. Speaking several languages including Latin, and having received a humanist education, the young painter showed a great ease in the learning of his art and was soon hired by Vincent I de Gonzague, Duke of Mantou and Montferrat (1562-1612).
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