Rubens, Peter Paul
Flemish School, 16th – 17th century, male.
Born 28 June 1577 , in Siegen (Westphalia), Germany; died 30 May 1640 , in Antwerp.
Painter, etcher, draughtsman. Historical subjects, figures, nudes, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes. Wall decorations, church decoration, ornaments, designs for tapestries.
Peter Pau(we)l Rubens came from a rich bourgeois family from Antwerp. His father, Jan Rubens (b. 13 March 1530, d. 1 March 1587 in Cologne, Germany), was a doctor of civil and canon law, an alderman in Antwerp, and a man of considerable culture who had lived in Italy for seven years. On 29 November 1561, he married Marie Pypelynckx (b. 20 March 1538, d. 15 November 1608 in Antwerp) and fathered seven children by her. Although he was born a Roman Catholic, Jan Rubens belonged to the Reformed (Calvinist) church. He campaigned against the tyranny of the Duke of Alba and, as a result, was obliged to flee the Low Countries in 1568, seeking refuge in Cologne. Following an affair with his employer’s second wife, the Protestant Princess Anna of Saxony, which resulted in a pregnancy, he was banished to Siegen in Westphalia. Rubens was finally allowed to return to Cologne after posting bail to the sum of 6,000 thalers, and on 15 May 1578, he settled his family into a modest house in which he was destined to spend the final nine years of his life - under constant surveillance by the agents of the House of Orange-Nassau. It was during this time that his son, Peter Paul Rubens, commenced his Jesuit education. In the interim, Jan Rubens had had a change of heart and, on his return from imprisonment, abjured Protestantism. On his death in 1587, he was buried at the St Peterskirche in Cologne. His wife, Marie, left Cologne in March 1589, a virtual pauper as a result of the vindictiveness of the House of Orange-Nassau, and returned to Antwerp with her children....