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West House Study Day – Rubens

22 Sep 2018
9:45 am - 2:30 pm

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Rubens, Peter Paul

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was one of the most gifted and diverse painters of the 17th Century – all his pictures, whether portraits, mythologies, altar pieces or landscapes show the same dynamic feeling together with tremendously vigorous brush strokes and a wonderful feeling of texture. His portraits and mythologies influenced artists as diverse as Rembrandt and Watteau, whilst his landscapes are probably the greatest single influence on those of Gainsborough and Constable. Yet he was also the embodiment of the Renaissance “all-round man’’, combining an artistic career with that of a diplomat. We will study his paintings both as works of art and also as documents of the history of his times in which he played an exceptionally active part. Lists of slides will be provided.

Leslie Pitcher (B.A. Cantab.) has a degree in Classical Literature and Languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. He lectures for NADFAS, WEA, and U3A. He has also lectured at Brompton Oratory on Religious Art. His particular interest is in the classical tradition in art from the Ancient World to the Renaissance.

09.45 Registration

10.00-11.00 Early years
Rubens’ early ‘Mannerist’ style, and the influence of Italian painting on him during his stay there. His return to Antwerp and his setting up of a large studio there and the contribution of his assistants.

11.00-11.30 Coffee and tea

11.30-12.30 The 1620’s and the peak of Rubens’ diplomatic career
Rubens’ first marriage and his painted records of it, and his early landscapes. His diplomatic contacts with England and France, and particularly the huge cycle of paintings produced for the French Queen Marie de Medici.

12.30-1.30 Lunch by Daisy’s and tea and coffee

1.30-2.30 Final years and retirement
The end of Rubens’ diplomatic career and his retirement to his private estate in Flanders. His second marriage and celebration of this in painting together with his exploration of the local Flemish landscape to produce a whole series of pictures which is to influence the development of European landscape painting until well into the nineteenth century.


Portrait of Susannah Fourment (1622-5), “le chapeau de paille” London, National Gallery
Landscape with a Rainbow (1635), London, Wallace Collection
Samson and Delilah (1609-10), London, National Gallery

All images are in the public domain.

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