Peter Paul Rubens, creator of the Baroque style
This intelligent, fascinating and surprising master of Flemish Baroque influenced the artistic, political and economic world from his base in Antwerp.
Peter Paul Rubens was born in Westphalia on 28 June 1577, but returned to Antwerp in 1589 where he started Classical studies. After a stay in Italy, he returned to Antwerp, married Isabelle Brandt and became much in demand. Rubens did a significant amount of diplomatic work, whilst continuing to paint. He was sent to Madrid, London and Paris, carrying out his role seriously and wisely and becoming generally well-regarded.
Rubens' style and work developed over time; he initially had to comply with the demands for sobriety of the time, but his reputation gradually freed him of all these constraints. The freedom of his style and his dynamism made him the sole embodiment of the Baroque style. Rubens was intelligent and highly cultured; he developed his art in every environment, glorifying sovereigns, the Catholic Church and simple feminine beauty and creating a vast repertory of forms that would inspire future generations.
His repertory was extensive and included religion, history and mythology as well as portraits, landscapes and scenes of religious life. He was considered as the creator of northern Baroque and his style spread throughout Europe.