Rubens and His Age
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is among the pre-eminent figures within Baroque painting.
Over the course of his years studying under the Antwerp artist Otto van Veen (see Room 203) and his juvenile years spent in Italy and Spain, Rubens became a well-read and classically educated cosmopolitan figure.
In 1608 he returned to Antwerp and was appointed court painter for the Infanta Isabella and Arch Duke Albrecht VII of Austria, who were sovereigns of the Habsburg Netherlands.
At the same time Rubens set up a studio with apprentices to help meet the great demand from churches and monasteries ordering monumental, religious figure compositions.
Flanders corresponds roughly to present-day Belgium, and in Rubens’ day it was part of the Spanish Habsburg realm.
In Rubens’ day Antwerp was a very fertile centre for the arts. The city’s painters set the new trend within landscape painting and new motifs such as "The Collector’s Studio".