Rubens worked and lived in Antwerp. Nowhere else in the world can you feel the greatness of Rubens as well as here. The city already played an important role in the 16th century. It was like Silicon Valley is today, a place where knowledge, craftsmanship and technology come together.
It's best to take your time when looking at Bruegel's work. Just call it 'slow looking'. The longer you look at a painting, the more you are drawn into it and the greater the number of subtle yet masterful details you will discover. That is also the reason why Google is so interested in this painter.
According to curator Nico Van Hout, Rubens was the Quentin Tarantino of his time. Just like the controversial, but genius director and his nouvelle-violence style, Rubens cultivated violence in his early work. He specialised in horror scenes with a moral. The painter worked in a very cinematographic way and was a master of colour, composition and painting techniques. His characters look lifelike, and the skin of his figures bloodied.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Margaret of Austria – one of the most powerful women in Europe – chose Mechelen as a base. This Flemish city thus grew de facto into the capital of the Burgundian empire. Pay a visit to this beautiful city and discover for yourself why Mechelen is such an irresistible destination.
As a painter, Bruegel lived throughout a turning point in history. It was a period during which the world, as people knew it at the time, was in danger of disappearing. The explorers were discovering new continents and peoples, and the world was opening up at a rapid pace. At the same time, there was a constant threat hanging over the low Countries - where Bruegel lived and worked - which eventually culminated in religious wars.
In November 2016, David Bowie's art collection was auctioned at Sotheby's in London. The pop icon almost exclusively collected modern art, but he also owned a monumental altarpiece, the "Holy Catharina" by Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594). This painting made such a huge impression on Bowie that he even named his record label after it (Tintoretto Music).
Rubens House Antwerp
It takes a lot of time to create a painting, but a print is far less labour-intensive. Just think of prints as being snapshots from the 16th century. Well-to-do citizens of the time collected them and shared them with one another, just like we do nowadays on social media. If only Bruegel had had an Instagram account…
At the peak of his career, Pieter Bruegel the Elder moved from Antwerp to Brussels because he wanted to be as close as possible to his wealthy clients. One of those clients is highly likely to have been the renowned Cardinal de Granvelle. Not only was he a cunning politician, but he was also one of the biggest art collectors of the day.
Ask the other guides as well.
|Painter:||Peter Paul Rubens|
Hello. My name is Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641).
In all modesty, I must say I was a portrait painter of some distinction. However, my master Rubens was the real genius. I was his favourite student and he strongly believed in my talent.
Some say I even became his first serious competitor in Antwerp as my technique was flawless. For a long time, people believed Rubens painted my portrait. It was only after a recent technical investigation that it was revealed to be a self-portrait. My portrait is on display at the Rubens House.
Later on, I painted many portraits (and self-portraits), often with the short, pointed beard then in fashion. That kind of beard was much later referred to as a “Van Dyke” or “Van Dyke beard”.
By the way, you may call me ‘Sir Anthony’, as I was knighted by King Charles I in 1623. The king was most passionate about art and very generous. He appointed me as his court painter and provided me with a house on the River Thames. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to grow old. On 9 December 1641, at the age of 42, I died after a long illness. I was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.