Rubens, Peter Paul, Sir
Rubens, Peter Paul, Sir,
the illustrious Flemish painter, was born at Siegen. Germany (according to some, at Cologne), June 29, 1577. After the death of his father in 1587, he went with his mother to Antwerp, where his parents had formerly resided. He became page to Marguerite de Ligne, countess de Lalaing, but soon left her to study art, chiefly under A. van Noort and O. van Veen (or Venius). In 1600 he visited Italy, going first to Venice and Mantua and thence to Rome, where he devoted himself to the study of the pictures of Titian and Paul Veronese. In 1605 the duke Vincenzo Gonzaga sent him on a special mission to Philip III of Spain. Again visiting Italy, he resided at Rome, Milan, and Genoa, painting many pictures, until 1608, when, hearing of his mother's illness, he returned to Antwerp. He was appointed court painter to the archduke Albert, and married Isabella Brant (or Brandt) in 1609. When, in 1627, Charles I declared war against France, Rubens was intrusted to negotiate with Gerbier, Charles's agent at the Hague. In the autumn of the same year he was sent to Madrid, and in 1629 was ambassador to England. He was employed on a mission to Holland in 1633, died May 30, 1640, and was buried in the Church of St. Jacques, Antwerp. The pictures ascribed wholly or in part to Rubens, according to Smith's Catalogue Raisonne, number 1800. They comprise history, portraits, landscapes; animal, fruit, and flower pieces. The finest are in the cathedral in Antwerp — The Descent from the Cross, and The Elevation of the Cross, the former being generally considered his masterpiece. The Belvedere in Vienna contains a noble altar piece with wings representing
The Virgin Presenting a Splendid Robe to St. Ildefonso: — St. Ambrose Refusing to Admit the Emperor Theodosius into the Church; and two altar pieces representing the miracles performed by St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. See Waagen, in Raumer's Historisches Taschenbuch (Leips. 1833; Lond. 1840); Michel, Rubens et l'Ecole d'Anvers (Paris, 1854); Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain (Lond. 185457, 4 vols.).