The Rape of the Sabine Women (Rubens)
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- Palais des Beux-Arts de Lille (2004) RUBENS.
1. Peter Paul Rubens – Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish/Netherlandish draughtsman and painter. He is widely considered as the most notable artist of Flemish Baroque art school, the catalogue of his works by Michael Jaffé lists 1,403 pieces, excluding numerous copies made in his workshop. His commissioned works were mostly history paintings, which included religious and mythological subjects and he painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house and he also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not overly detailed and he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. For altarpieces he painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. Rubens was born in the city of Siegen to Jan Rubens and he was named in honour of Saint-Peter and Paul, because he was born on their solemnety. His father, a Calvinist, and mother fled Antwerp for Cologne in 1568, after increased religious turmoil and persecution of Protestants during the rule of the Spanish Netherlands by the Duke of Alba. Jan Rubens became the adviser of Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange. Following Jan Rubens imprisonment for the affair, Peter Paul Rubens was born in 1577, the family returned to Cologne the next year. In 1589, two years after his fathers death, Rubens moved with his mother Maria Pypelincks to Antwerp, religion figured prominently in much of his work and Rubens later became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting. In Antwerp, Rubens received a Renaissance humanist education, studying Latin, by fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the leading painters of the time, the late Mannerist artists Adam van Noort. Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger. Rubens completed his education in 1598, at time he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master. In 1600 Rubens travelled to Italy and he stopped first in Venice, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The colouring and compositions of Veronese and Tintoretto had an effect on Rubenss painting. With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome by way of Florence in 1601, there, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters
2. Philip IV of Spain – Philip IV of Spain was King of Spain and Portugal as Philip III. He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Spain until his death, Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the challenging period of the Thirty Years War. Philip IV was born in Valladolid, and was the eldest son of Philip III and his wife, Philip had seven children by Elisabeth, with only one being a son, Balthasar Charles, who died at the age of sixteen in 1646. The death of his son deeply shocked the king, who appears to have been a father by the standards of the day. Philip remarried in 1646, following the deaths of both Elisabeth and his legitimate heir. Perceptions of Philips personality have altered considerably over time, victorian authors were inclined to portray him as a weak individual, delegating excessively to his ministers, and ruling over a debauched Baroque court. Victorian historians even attributed the death of Baltasar to debauchery. The doctors who treated the Prince at that time in fact diagnosed smallpox, Philip was idealised by his contemporaries as the model of Baroque kingship. Philip was a horseman, a keen hunter and a devotee of bull-fighting. Privately, Philip appears to have had a lighter persona, when he was younger, he was said to have a keen sense of humour and a great sense of fun. He privately attended academies in Madrid throughout his reign — these were lighthearted literary salons, aiming to analyse contemporary literature, a keen theatre-goer, he was sometimes criticised by contemporaries for his love of these frivolous entertainments. Others have captured his private personality as naturally kind, gentle and affable and those close to him claimed he was academically competent, with a good grasp of Latin and geography, and could speak French, Portuguese and Italian well. Like many of his contemporaries, including Olivares, he had a keen interest in astrology and his handwritten translation of Francesco Guicciardinis texts on political history still exists. Although Philips Catholic beliefs no longer attract criticism from English language writers, notably, from the 1640s onwards he sought the advice of a noted cloistered abbess, Sor María de Ágreda, exchanging many letters with her. By the end of the reign, and with the health of Carlos José in doubt, there was a possibility of Juan Josés making a claim on the throne. Philip IV came to power as the influence of the Sandovals was being undermined by a new noble coalition, over the course of at least a year, however, the relationship became very close, with Philips tendency towards underconfidence and diffidence counteracted by Olivares drive and determination. Philip retained Olivares as his confidant and chief minister for the twenty years. Philip himself argued that it was appropriate for the king himself to go house to house amongst his ministers to see if his instructions were being carried out
3. Brussels – Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the region of Flanders or Wallonia. The region has a population of 1.2 million and an area with a population of over 1.8 million. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, the secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are also located in Brussels. Today, it is considered an Alpha global city, historically a Dutch-speaking city, Brussels has seen a language shift to French from the late 19th century onwards. Today, the majority language is French, and the Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. All road signs, street names, and many advertisements and services are shown in both languages, Brussels is increasingly becoming multilingual with increasing numbers of migrants, expatriates and minority groups speaking their own languages. The most common theory of the origin of Brussels name is that it derives from the Old Dutch Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning marsh, Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695 when it was still a hamlet. The origin of the settlement that was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580. The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel, Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island. Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven gained the County of Brussels around 1000 by marrying Charles daughter, as it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant at about this time, in the 13th century, the city got its first walls. After the construction of the city walls in the early 13th century, to let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Today, traces of it can still be seen, mostly because the small ring, Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Low Countries, and flourished. In 1516 Charles V, who had been heir of the Low Countries since 1506, was declared King of Spain in St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519 and it was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg that Charles V abdicated in 1555. This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant. In 1695, during the Nine Years War, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery, together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels
4. Gaspar de Crayer – Gaspar de Crayer or Jasper de Crayer was a Flemish painter known for his many Counter-Reformation altarpieces and portraits. He was a painter to the governors of the Southern Netherlands. Gaspar de Crayer was born in Antwerp as the son of Gaspard de Crayer the Elder, rather than stay in Antwerp, he looked for opportunity in the capital Brussels. He is believed to have studied under Raphael Coxie, the painter of the governors of the Spanish Netherlands Albert VII, Archduke of Austria. He became a master in the Brussels Guild of Saint Luke in 1607 and he was a dean of the Guild from 1611 to 1616 and was a member of the Brussels city council in 1626-1627. He remained in Brussels until 1664, for example, the Equestrian portrait of Don Diego Messia Felipe de Guzmán was painted by de Crayer in 1627-1628. In addition, from the beginning of his career de Crayer received orders for altarpieces to decorate churches and monasteries around Brussels. He later worked as a painter for the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria who became governor in 1647. He also received in 1647 a commission from Dutch architect Jacob van Campen to assist in the decoration of Huis ten Bosch, the palace of stadtholder Frederick Henry in The Hague. De Crayer also completed commissions for Spanish patrons, the largest of which was a commission for at least 17 images of saints, even while he gained a high social position in Brussels, de Crayer did not lose contact with his hometown Antwerp. He was in particular a friend and business associate of the art dealer Matthijs Musson and he married Catharina Janssens on 17 February 1613. He worked regularly in Ghent where he produced altarpieces and also played a role in the coordination of the monumental decorations for the Joyous Entry of the Cardinal-Infante in Ghent. In 1664 he finally moved to city where he spent the last five years of his life. In spite of his age, he received numerous important orders for altarpieces and he had previously established a reputation in Ghent, before 1620 he had regularly completed commissions for various religious and secular institutions of the city. Among the numerous paintings made in Ghent stand out the Martyrdom of St. Blas, in his large workshop de Crayer trained between 1610 and 1661 a large number of pupils, including Jan van Cleve, Anselm van Hulle and François Monnaville. Gaspar de Crayer mainly painted portraits of the elite and Counter Reformation altarpieces for local and his early work is in the trend of he 16th century tradition of Antwerp artists such as Marten de Vos and Hendrik de Clerck. Typical for this style is the perspective and the crowding of long wooden figures in the foreground. From 1618 he came under the influence of Rubens, the level of borrowing of motifs from Rubens suggests that he had some form of contract with the workshop of Rubens since some models he could only have seen there
5. Leda and the Swan (Peter Paul Rubens) – Peter Paul Rubens was a well known artist during the Baroque era. He completed hundreds of works in various mediums—many were famous at the time, but there are also many works of art that people don’t know much about. One of these works is his painting Leda and the Swan and he painted two versions of this subject. The first was completed in 1601 and the second was completed in 1602, Rubens was heavily influenced by Michelangelo. He was introduced to his work on his journey to Italy, Rubens decided to go to Rome to make copies of paintings and further his studies of Italian art from the leading Italian artists of the previous century, later termed the Renaissance. In Rome, he encountered Michelangelo’s version of Leda and the Swan, even though Michelangelo’s version does not exist today, copies of it do. A copy of Michelangelo’s original work was done by Rubens, Rubens would have been familiar with Michelangelo’s Leda. His version is considered a prototype for Rubens’s two works, Rubens’s 1601 Leda, was modeled after Michelangelo’s Leda. The placement of the body is similar as is its twisting posture. Even the positioning of the fingers is mirrored, the swan is caressing the female in exactly the same way. The actual figure of the female varies drastically between Rubens’s style and Michelangelo’s style, Michelangelo typically depicted women in a masculine way. Muscles are more defined and the bodies look hard. Michelangelo’s body proportions are a little skewed, Rubens’s women, on the other hand, are extremely curvaceous and are much softer. The hair is loose and not as styled. The body proportions seem more realistic in Rubens’s two works, though Rubens’s two works are very similar, they do differ. In his first depiction, the brushstrokes are looser, it is not as detailed, there is less landscape, no elaborate headpiece, the colors are muted, and the drapes are green. The 1601 painting was supposed to be in a painted ellipse that cut off the left elbow. Today it is in a rectangular format along with the 1602 painting, a common Renaissance and Baroque theme is females that are abducted or seduced by divinities