Peter Paul Rubens, the most famous resident of Antwerp, likes looking at himself in the mirror. His self portrait on display at the Rubens House is what we would label as a selfie these days. He doesn't portray himself as an artist, but rather as a nobleman and diplomat.
Rubens is famous for his voluptuous female nudity. Many painters openly express their admiration for the great master of nudity, from Eugène Delacroix and Thomas Gainsborough, to Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Unfortunately, very few drawings and sketches of female models have survived, except for a number of his second wife Helena Fourment.
Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world. Nowadays, approximately 80% of all rough diamonds are traded in Antwerp. But the history of diamond trading goes back many centuries. Ever since the 15th century, Antwerp played a key role in the diamond trade and cutting industry. The diamond trade is more than just business. From a cultural and artistic heritage perspective, Antwerp has a story or two to tell about these little rocks.
My colleagues have plenty more to tell you.
|Painter:||Peter Paul Rubens|
i there, my name is Venus. I'm the goddess of beauty, love and desire...
Peter Paul rubens brought me to the north to make this painting. He named it 'Venus Frigida'. It was quite cold when he made this masterpiece. I'm used to the warm Mediterranean climate of my home, the isle of Cyprus in the south. So, that's why you see mi shivering as I'm being exposed ot the wintry landscape. Even my tittle Cupid next to me is trying to keep warm.
A classical adage says: 'Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus grows cold.' Well, that's kind of true. One needs delicious food, a good drink and a cosy bedroom to stay warm in winter, right? So that's why you can see a satyr, one of Bacchus followers, offering me his cornucopia filled with delicacies to reignite the fire of life.
This painting is probably one of the finest nudes by Peter Paul Rubens. At that time it wasn't evident to pose nude. Many artists painted my naked body but Rubens did a really great job. By combining flesh tones with red, orange, yellow and blue heus, he transformed me into a real woman of flesh and blood. Look closely and you'll even see the shivers running down my spine. and perhaps some cellulite. What can i say, we didn't use Photoshop back in those days.