Museums teem with stuff like this, don’t they? Puffy semi-idealized bodies floating on clouds, gazing at each other lovingly under the warmth of a rainbow, surrounded by mythological figures and cherubs and naked torch bearing babies riding lions drawing a chariot…. Good God, it sounds like a party at Kevin Spacey’s house.
Rubens was a master at this classical baroque style, with prolific production of mythological and allegorical scenes. Rubens catalog is over FOURTEEN HUNDRED pieces. This dude WORKED.
And not only at painting, either – he spoke six languages and got very chummy with a lot of the royalty he worked for and painted. And you know, when people sit for portraits, they chat about stuff. And when royalty and ministers and the like chat about stuff to people they think are just artists, they reveal all sorts of inside-court knowledge and even state secrets, especially if the artist charms it out of them.
Which is exactly what Rubens did. He worked as a spy and diplomat all over Europe while at the same time enjoyed the successful life and reputation of being one of the top artists around.Continue reading “Friday Art: The Meeting of Marie de Médicis and Henri IV at Lyon by Peter Paul Rubens (1622-25)”