15) Descent from the cross by Peter Rubens 1577-1640
Painted for a cathedral in Antwerp, Belgium and one of a series of three paintings, these pictures secured Rubens reputation throughout Europe as a leading painter of the era.Having trained first in Antwerp Rubens traveled to Italy and made an exhaustive study of Italian painting. He was greatly influenced by Titian and Tintoretto. Each generation of artists sinks their roots into the generations that have come before.
16) This is the disembarkment of Marie De Medici at Marseilles. This is one of the De Medici cycle of paintings in the Louvre. These are enormous paintings and writhe with lines in the style called baroque. Rubens seems more interested in the sirens in the water than dowdy old Marie. The sirens in the water are finest piece of painting I have ever seen in my life. I stood before them in awe. Delacroix agreed, and constantly returned to them for inspiration. Had Rubens never painted he would still have been remembered with a footnote in history as an ambassador to Spain, at the time the most powerful kingdom on earth. On one trip as an envoy to that court he became a friend of Diego Velazquez.
16) Helene Fourment in a fur wrap
Helene was Rubens second wife and bore him five children. He was fifty three, she was sixteen, and he left her this painting upon his death. A skin which was roomy enough to contain a bear is insufficient to conceal the spongy exuberance of young Mrs. Rubens figure.
Rubens maintained a workshop full of talented artists, including Van Dyke, so that he could create his enormous canvases for churches and royalty at an assembly line rate of speed. He was extremely prolific as a result. He became very wealthy and could afford to buy a chateau outside of Antwerp, he could also afford to die of gout, and did.
images from artrenewal.org