Last Week at the Royal Academy of Art I visited the Rubens and His Legacy exhibit.
The Flemish master, Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was the most celebrated artist of his time in Europe and the monarchies of Spain, England and France were his prestigious patrons. He was hailed as “the prince of painters and painter of princes”. He was also a highly knowledgeable collector of his own, a diplomat of great skill and a canny businessman. Few artists have had such an impact on his contemporaries and future generations. To highlight the richness of his work, in this exhibit there were themes of poetry, elegance, power, compassion, violence and lust. This is what I particularly found engaging: the ability to go from one room to another and see how he excelled in these categories and also highlight the diversity of his range and his inspiration for succeeding generations. There were works by Van Dyck, Watteau, Delacroix and Cezanne.
Rubens was also an important figure for early Royal Academicians, including Gainsborough, Constable, and Reynolds.
This exhibit made striking comparisons between Ruben’s work and those of his followers.
Left: Rubens, The Garden of Love, 1633 | Right: Watteau, The Pleasures of the Ball, 1715-17
Left: Rubens, Portrait of Maria Grimaldi and Dwarf, 1607 | Right: Van Dyck, A Genoese Noblewoman and Her son , 1626
Left: Rubens, Tiger, Lion and Leopard Hunt, 1616 | Right: Delacroix, Lion Hunt, 1858
Left: Rubens, Pan and Syrinx, 1617 | Right: Cezanne, Three Bathers, 1875