San Francisco puts Rubens in the spotlight


‘The early celebrity of Peter Paul Rubens’, is the name of the exhibition that is intended to promote the Belgian artist among the Americans. Paintings from all over the world will be flown to the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, where they will form an impressive collection of Rubens' finest works. The exhibition will be held next year from 6 April to 2 September.

Many of Rubens' works have never been seen on the American west coast. The city of San Francisco, in cooperation with the Flemish government, wants to change this by bringing the works together in a grand Rubens exhibition. It will focus on the painter's Antwerp period, between 1608 and 1620.

As this is an excellent opportunity to promote Belgian art, the Flemish government is forking out some 100,000 euros in subsidies for the project. The exhibition puts Flanders on the map and will, among other things, promote the Flemish Masters project. This is a three-year project that involves all kinds of events in Belgium to showcase the Flemish artists Van Eyck, Bruegel and Rubens.

The five-month Rubens exhibition in San Francisco should attract some 175,000 visitors. The museum will also be publishing a complete catalogue of the exhibition.

Peter Paul Rubens was a painter, draughtsman and diplomat from the Southern Netherlands, who lived in Antwerp in the 16th and 17th centuries. His paintings are in the Flemish Baroque style. The years from 1610 to 1620 were his most productive years, which is when he made his masterpieces, the Elevation of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross. These works can still be admired in Antwerp's Cathedral of Our Lady.