Peter Paul Rubens: “An Italian Painter”

Peter Paul Rubens: “An Italian Painter”

Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640) is the protagonist of a great exhibition running this winter at Palazzo Reale, Milan. While critically acclaimed as one of the greatest artists in European art history, Rubens is still little known in Italy and often dismissed as just one of the ‘Flemish painters’, despite his long and meaningful stay in Italy from 1600 to 1608, which significantly marked and influenced his rich artistic production. The exhibition – located in the beautiful premises of the Primo Piano Nobile of Palazzo Reale – offers, after last Christmas unique opportunity to admire at Palazzo Marino the Adoration of the Shepherds, a more comprehensive view of his work, artistic approach and development, focusing on his classical influences, his relationship with Italian art and with some contemporary artists he met during his stay in Italy. Rubens is to be credited with contributing to the birth of Baroque art as well as to its highest expressions that had spread to all other regions. His influence was so great and widely recognized by art critics, that Bernard Berenson defined him as “an Italian painter”. By following his connections with cities like Genoa, Mantua, and Venice, as well as his Roman period, it is possible to recreate Rubens’ deep bond with the Italian culture throughout his subsequent artistic production.


This is indeed the leit-motiv of the exhibition entitled ‘Peter Paul Rubens and the Birth of Baroque’. It highlights Rubens connections with ancient art and classical sculpture, as well as his close attention to the great Renaissance painters like Tintoretto and Correggio. The exhibition aims to emphasize the tremendous influence exerted by this great Master on other younger, prominent Baroque Italian artists, such as Pietro da Cortona, Bernini, Lanfranco, and Luca Giordano. Over 70 works, 40 of which are by the great Flemish Master, have been lent out for this exhibition by some of the most important international collections, such as the National Museum of Prado, Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin and one from the Prince of Liechtenstein, as well as by several Italian collections, such as the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Rome, Musei Capitolini, Galleria Borghese, Galleria degli Uffizi and Galleria Palatina in Florence, Museo di Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, Galleria di Palazzo Spinola in Genoa, and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo 12
Through 26th February 2017

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