Peter Paul Rubens Paintings (Famous Artworks)
Peter Paul Rubens was born in 1591; he completed 1403 works over 50 years, producing between 28 and 30 pieces a year. The artist Paul Rubens was known for his skill in capturing emotion through facial expression; he could make you feel as if you knew each of the subjects he painted.
He is regarded as the Flemish Baroque movement's most striking artist. Rubens' extraordinarily heated compositions make erudite allusions to events in Christian and classical history.
Rubens had some experience creating fantastical and figurative altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings.
Rubens was a classically trained artist who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England in addition to operating a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings that were well renowned with honor and art authority throughout Europe.
Here are some of his best paintings and the stories behind them.
Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens
The severed head of Medusa is lying on a ledge of stone in a setting, her serpentine locks writhing dreadfully.
Drops of Medusa's blood are turned into still more small snakes while some of the intertwined snakes chew one other and others give birth. The terrifyingly pale and wide-eyed face of Medusa is awful to behold.
In the front, a scorpion, two insects, and a magnificently visible reptile can be observed.
A landscape view may be seen in the left separation as the earth climbs sharply to the rear right. According to Ovid, Medusa was the cutest of Phorcys' little daughters and was especially admired for her lovely hair.
A goddess changed her hair into a collection of dreadful snakes after being hurt by Neptune in the Temple of Minerva.
The Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt by Peter Paul Rubens
One of the most famous paintings by Peter Paul Rubens is 'The Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt.' This painting depicts the struggle between man and beast, a hippopotamus, and a crocodile.
In his painting, the crocodile is surrounded by a band of well-armed hunters, riding on Arabian horses and brandishing swords and lances. Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt is a statement about man's conflict with nature.
It is a work of art that alternates between smooth and layered, dark and bright, lofty and low.
This artwork is an excellent example of the Baroque style since it makes use of different colors to portray an amazing and intensely passionate scene.
The Fall of Phaeton by Peter Paul Rubens
Rubens depicts the story of Ovid's Metamorphoses where the son of the Sun-god Apollo, Phaeton, begged his father repeatedly for permission to pilot the Chariot of the Sun through the sky.
After Apollo finally gave in, his worst fears were confirmed: the impetuous lad lacked both the ability and the experience to steer the chariot and keep it on its intended trajectory across the sky.
The Horae, female figures with butterfly wings that represent the seasons and allude to the universe's amiability and desire, are reacting in horror as Earth below erupts into flames in the image on the left.
Even the amazing celestial groups that curve through the sky are disturbed. Outside of the image's outline, Jupiter, the most powerful deity, sent a shockwave to prevent the universe from being destroyed.
Phaeton falls to his death as the chariot deteriorates and the ponies disintegrate.
The Garden of Love by Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens' The Garden of Love; is a painting that is now on display in Madrid's Prado Museum. It was originally called The Garden Party and hung in the royal bedroom of a Spanish king.
In 1666, the painting was listed in the Prado but was renamed in 1819. It is one of the most famous paintings in Spain and is worth visiting if you're visiting Madrid.
The Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens
The Descent from the Cross is a triptych. It depicts men lowering Jesus from the cross. The work shows the influence of Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Michelangelo. Rubens completed the work after his return to Flanders.
Descent from the Cross was sent to the Arquebusiers, the city watchmen of Antwerp, in 1611 for their exclusive stepped area inside the church. Burgomaster Nicolaas Rockox, who appears in the artwork, was a senior member of society at the time.
Ruben's elaborate, artistic Baroque system combined the two elements of the Venetian scheme as well as the artwork and lighting from Caravaggio's Roman era. Whatever the case, the result is straightforwardly Flemish.
The topics addressed in the triptych initially appear to be incredibly broad-ranging, yet they are connected because St. Christopher was the Arquebusier's patron saint.
The Elevation of the Cross Triptych by Peter Paul Rubens
This oil on panel painting dates to 1610 and was originally commissioned for the Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp.
Following his return to Antwerp from Italy in 1610–1611, Rubens created the triptych The Elevation of the Cross under the direction of the congregation specialists of the Church of St. Walburga.
This altarpiece represents Rubens' early attempt to harness the influence of the Baroque movement.
The scene is dreary and tense. Christ's endurance is visible in his taut and stressed physique, hands gripping the nails firmly, and misshapen head in the final images of agonizing torture.
This triptych was the artist's first triptych and features Madonna and Child in the center panel and three saints on each side. Although it was created for a church altar, it has been preserved in private collections ever since.
Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens
Samson and Delilah depicts the biblical story of Samson and Delilah in a critical biblical moment. Rubens created several oil sketches of this biblical episode after spending eight years in Italy.
In Italy, he studied the history of art, including ancient and Renaissance works. The painting's location on the mantelpiece is a clue as to when it was painted. The painting is a classic story of betrayal and revenge.
Samson was a Hebrew hero from the Bible who was betrayed by Delilah, the woman he loved. The painting now hangs in London's National Gallery, where it can be enjoyed by all who visit!
The Entombment by Peter Paul Rubens
The Entombment depicts the entombment of Christ, who is being lowered into his tomb by four soldiers.
Three mourners are weeping at the sight of Jesus's death: Nicodemus held his handkerchief to cover his face; Mary Magdalene was supported by John; Joseph of Arimathea draped his mantle over Christ's body.
Other characters included Mary (mother of Jesus), who sat opposite them on a bench; Saint John holding an open book; two angels with wings outstretched near Joseph's feet and six other bystanders on the side, including three grieving women.
Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens
This painting is a depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents, a Biblical story from which Rubens was inspired by Michelangelo's Last Judgement.
In this painting, we see an angel pointing at an infant who has been spared from being murdered by King Herod's soldiers.
Paintings like these were commissioned by Catholic patrons, and it's not hard to see why: they encourage viewers to reflect on God's mercy and forgiveness and hopefully inspire them to lead better lives.