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Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)
Also known as: Rubens, Sir Peter Paul; Sir Peter Paul RubensBirth Place: Siegen (Arnsberg district, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, North Rhine-Westphailia, Germany, on June 28, 1577. Peter Paul Rubens was known for using color and movement and became one of the most famous Baroque painters of all-time. He moved to Antwerp at the age of 12 with his mother nearly two years after the death of his father, and religion played a very important of his life in Antwerp, which would later be the motivation for his Counter-Reformation pieces.
Peter Paul Rubens began his career as an artist at the age of 14 when he started working as an apprentice under famous artist Tobias Verhaeght. Rubens also spent time studying under Otto van Veen and Adam van Noort. At the age of 21, Peter Paul ended his studying and entered the Guild of St. Luke as a master painter.
Shortly after finishing his education, Peter Paul traveled throughout Italy studying the paintings of the country's best artists. Some of the Italian artists that had a major influence in Rubens' work include Titan and Leonardo da Vinci. During his time in Italy, Peter Paul Rubens completed his first high profile piece of art, "St. Helena with the True Cross" for Santa Croce church.
Peter Paul Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1609 because his mother was ill, but she ultimately passed away before he returned home. The house that Rubens moved into when he returned to Antwerp is now the Rubenshuis Museum. Rubens completed two of his most important pieces shortly after returning home to Antwerp. He completed "The Rising of the Cross" in 1610 and "The Descent from the Cross" in 1614. Both paintings were altarpieces for Cathedral of Our Lady.
Peter Paul Rubens completed the Marie de' Medici cycle in 1625. The Marie de' Medici cycle is a collection of 24 paintings that celebrated the life of Marie de' Medici and her husband Henry IV, and these paintings can now be seen in the Louvre. Shortly after completing the Marie de' Medici cycle, Rubens became a diplomat. Most of his time was spent trying to secure peace between Spain and England. Rubens spent his last years in Antwerp, and he completed "The Assumption of the Virgin Mary" and "The Judgement of Paris" before dying of heart failure on May 30, 1640.
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