Rubens and Britain
written by Karen Hearn
Tate Gallery | ISBN 9781854379733
Paperback – 48 pages
Member’s price: $8.96
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Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was one of the most internationally admired painters in seventeenth-century Europe, whose patrons included the rulers of France, Spain, Mantua and the Netherlands. In 1621 he was approached by the British court to produce paintings for the ceiling of James I's newly rebuilt Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace, a prestigious space where foreign ambassadors were formally received and court masques performed. Compact, accessible and beautifully illustrated, this book is the perfect introduction to Rubens' links with Britain through the example of a single astonishing painting, the initial sketch for the ceiling. Wholly sketched in Rubens' hand, it is rich in allegorical detail unfamiliar to twenty-first-century viewers but explained succinctly in the text. Demonstrating Rubens' remarkable fluidity and freedom of invention, this work also exemplifies his role as diplomatic envoy to Britain and his position as the quintessential artist of his age.