tv Doc Film - Rubens - A European Life Deutsche Welle December 17, 2018 2:15am-3:01am CET
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i am a peace loving man. i believe that it ought to be the first wish of every honest man to live in tranquillity of mind. i am sorry that all kings and princes are not of this humor. the words of peter paul rubens writing to a friend in france and sixteen thirty six a time when the catholic church was fighting to counter the effects of the reformation. his allegorical canvas the consequences of war is considered one of the very first antiwar images ruben's at once a catholic and a humanist achieved superstar status in his day and remains
a towering figure in the history of western european art. and if he could do everything to the very highest standards or swim otoh he was among the most pan-european artists of his day or the favorite painter of europe's leading courts they talian art served him as a prime source of inspiration yasuni the limits and oh he stole with his eyes the there's a reason he's called one of the biggest the eves in art history. you could study vinson entire lifetime and never get bored. his travels in europe were keen to his success. as during his lifetime there is still no escaping ruben's achievements and his influence on europe to this day madrid vienna london and paris are just
a few of the cities that proudly display his works. many of his paintings are studies of lust and sensuality. but his cliched reputation as the painter of big women belies his inexhaustible repertoire. ruben's depicted large heavy figures in vigorous movement and he had a rich imagination. his dramatic visual language gave rise to a new style that would later be termed broke. we're the artist spent most of his life in the city of and. his family moved here from germany when he was ten. at the time it belonged to the
spanish netherlands. ruben's mother wanted him to pursue a career at court where he trained as a page. a day in the good food inc you know to me received the education of a young courts here which later proved to be an advantage of. a good king he knew how to interact with the aristocracy and the higher social classes it used to go. and that will prove very useful to him as an artist who to be needs to be back. in the late sixteenth century catholic and work was a flourishing center of international commerce despite the ongoing wars of religion ruben's always knew he wanted to be a painter he left courted fourteen to train as an apprentice at an aunt or parts studio boss i can please. explain this in fact was totally beneath his social standing of a woman. where he was
a family of alderman and that for generations had aside from maybe the pharmacist regularly produced council members who helped determine and towards political course it was really beneath the dignity of such a family to have a painter in its ranks. after seven years of training rubens began to work as a freelance artist his early efforts did not garner acclaim. only a few paintings from this period survive. adam and eve showed no trace of the trailblazing style that will define his later works. but the young painter is keen to develop and he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge in one of his later letters he writes in order to obtain the highest perfection in painting it is necessary to understand the antique to be so
thoroughly possessed of this knowledge that it may diffuse itself everywhere. in sixteen hundred at the age of twenty three rubens embarked on a trip to italy to discover the country of great artists and scholars venice was his first stop. it was a dynamic city with a population of one hundred fifty thousand although the city's golden era already lay in the past it's unlikely signs of its decline were visible to rubens. like in its heyday large sums were still being invested in splendid buildings and paintings. the young rubens visited the doge's palace and the city's major churches where he studied the works of venetian painters their singular style was already renowned beyond the city's boundaries many painters had large studios and exported their works across europe.
rubens was particularly impressed by one of them jack opal robles steve better known as tintoretto. into it too into it after was renowned for his energy and the speed with which he completed enormous canvases four think of the school reduced on the wrong school of rubens is certain to have spent long hours there viewing the crucifixion scene in that the to. die thank god i have. to read those dramatic rendering of the crucifixion is a marvelously composed a scene of figures in motion that brims with dynamism. christ on the cross eclipse's it all.
the agony of the mourners is palpable while others indifferently go about their business. into retro painted himself into the scene as a simple worker attentively observing the scene. rubens imbibed everything he saw. many young artists were drawn to venice at the time but rubens had the advantage of knowing italian presumably having learned it from his father who had spent time working in italy. that helped to make contacts as he strolled through the city to study his role models. like in the dorset do road district home to the church of san sebastiano. its
interior was designed by apollo veteran as a whose work was a revelation to ruben's. master of decorative paintings. better nazeer used extreme foreshortening to create illusion istic perspective. he designed all of the decorations in the small sacristy. more than thirty years later rubens would look to vera days as work as a model for a commission he received from the king of england.
after his stay in venice ruben's was hired by the duke of mantua as his court painter. the position allowed him to travel aside from making copies and painting originals rubin's was also in charge of acquiring antiquities and paintings by other artists. his first trip took him to florence one of the most affluent cities on the continent. generations of ruled by the powerful message the family had cemented the city's status as the center of european trade and finance. the family's support of the arts and humanities made florence the cradle of the renaissance. the minutes she's patronage was crucial for many artists. in the service of the duke of mantua rubin's worked his contacts and made sure to
get invitations to important events. and noted that by the president will take for example the very famous invitation to the wedding of nadia demanded she in florence in sixteen hundred. and said it was something of a precursor because twenty years later obviously ruined her be appointed by the tuscan princes to the french court. and by then she was the dowager queen of france and she wanted him to design a gallery of the new fairly new look from borg with commemorating up to so does from her life have been denied needlessly. from a modern day vantage ruben's appears quite the charming jetsetter brilliant at networking entirely without the help of facebook and twitter. someone who knew how to make himself the topic of conversation while at the same time possessing an ability to converse with anyone about anything. he also diligently
continued his own education through an intensive study of the fine arts that abound in florence. the city is home to works that captivated the young artist classical sculptures and motifs rediscovered during the renaissance. things went well for rubens and. he soon established a reputation with his excellent reproductions and his own paintings. his travels took him to rome or he purchased art works for the duke of mantua and copied paintings in the collection of the vatican he also received his first commissions which he could execute alongside his duties as court painter. in march sixteen zero three the duke asked him to deliver gifts to the spanish king
so ruben set off for spain after an arduous journey he reached the royal courts in via the lead some two hundred kilometers north of madrid. rubin's had hoped to hand over the duke's gifts to the king in person but those hopes were dashed. what's remarkable about the visit is how impatient rubens is most of it because he feels he hasn't received due recognition. and that he already feels like a great painter but in truth his career isn't that advanced. knowledge when he's not allowed to see the king he complains in writing they're not letting me assume the role i deserve if you would honestly so rubens is impatient for status but it will still take some time before he achieves it. and yet
rubens wouldn't let that deter him. spain's most powerful politician duke of lamma. painted his portrait without being commissioned to do so. chose the most difficult pose duke is writing on horseback towards the viewer. the painting is considered one of the first to reflect rubens artistic maturity. will be invited will be given either repainted him of his own accord or members because he wanted to give the duke of laminate impress on. you or he was asked by the duke of mantua to present the painting as a gift. then we want to see either way it was a significant gesture that served to raise his profile said. he is
a question painting help to make a name for rubens in spain and is proof of the twenty six year old's political aqim and he quickly sensed who had influence and power and an appreciation for the arts he wrote of the duke of lamma. he is not entirely ignorant of good art which is why he takes pleasure in his daily habits of the works in the palace. by titian raphael and others i too am amazed by the quality and quantity. after eight months reuben's return to italy. as his reputation continued to grow so did his personal wealth. you need to keep in mind that rubens was a relatively well situated man when he was in italy he wasn't that young a penniless painter willing to starve for his art he was actually
a wealthy man who travelled with companions and servants and who to the envy of some italian painters had ridden through rome on an equal footing with other noblemen giving. ruben's position gave him access to the leading art collections in italy. the rich and powerful furnished their residences with magnificent galleries like the tree in the feet see. contemporary art was displayed alongside works of antiquity. in his later paintings rubens would reference the pose of the famous medics civitas. part of his own parallel skill in his ability to transform a vast variety of stylistic influences from classical to contemporary into a personal style that was new and original. the
influence of the moves if you it's hard to overstate the influence of italy on rubens. it can't be summed up in a word. one could say that are all rubens the real rubens was born in angele. the painter the artist truly experienced a metamorphosis there. after an eight year stay ruben's left italy in the autumn of sixteen zero zero eight. his mother was gravely ill. he was very close to his family especially his brother philip who held an important office in antwerp. but by the time he arrived in december his mother had died. he decided to remain nevertheless and would never return to italy. his brother introduced him to a young woman and rubens fell in love.
in a portrait ruben's painted shortly after their wedding the couple holds hands and appears almost relaxed their gaze alert. the painting lacks the formality of the stiff portraits of men and women common at the time this is a young couple looking to the future with confidence and optimism. it was a time of fresh hope in antwerp thirty catholic spanish netherlands had agreed a ceasefire with the northern provinces the royal couple the archduchess isabella and archduke albert had heard of ruben success and asked him to enter their service as painter. ruben's agree. but
exercising the leverage of a rising star he negotiated special conditions. he insisted on remaining in antwerp rather than moving to the court in brussels and ensured that he would be able to continue working for other patrons. the catholic church commissioned an altar painting that today is located in antwerp of our lady. reuben selected the raising of the cross as the subject. in a break with traditional depictions christ's arms are stretched upwards rather than to the side the muscles are clearly defined. with this painting rubens introduced a completely new interpretation of christ's crucifixion inspired by his italian
role models. in the raising of the cross was one of the first paintings to cause a huge stir. no one around to or had ever seen such an image is. such a portrayal of our with such muscular men erecting the cross of the. if you could as open and this dynamism in the veiled contours that actually suggests small movements. that was something very different to the static figures painted by rubens predecessors in and. block that the. this trip tickets one of the first works that would later be dated to the baroque period. from the outset rubens was well integrated in antwerp social elite he bought a house and had it refurbished in the style of an italian villa
a real novelty in the city. but rubens didn't just bring a touch of italy to antwerp he was a world citizen undeterred by borders within europe. as you move after these national here if you ask me what was reuben's nationality i would say he was a european born in germany employed in italy and hired by the rulers of england spain france and the netherlands. from his base in antwerp he cultivated a name norma's network that opened on to be. an inordinate. rubin studio became a veritable image factory. he hired a small army of students to help meet demand from patrons at home and abroad. his career blossomed. he was a master of using motifs from antiquity for his own creative output.
then on to give would build he looked at the sculptures of classical antiquity statues of venus's and our team misses and literally covered them and scan the little bene mitts heads over talk of. rather than replicating the sculptures ruben's focused on specific details of the works he referenced reworking their appearance and altering their context. dina's frigidaire is a case in point. his painterly talent awakens the original stone sculpture to new life.
than is that rubens technique. it's fantastic he went to lot with glazes which set him fundamentally apart from the italians he allowed a sheen to his backgrounds while skiing two is depicted with a pleasant shima he lends it such a lifeline quality that looking at the crouching shivering venus we get the feeling we can actually see the cold because there's this blue translucence shimmering through his skin it's a scene when. he halts. even today rubens is considered unsurpassed and his mastery of portraying human skin. his works also reveal a cosmopolitan outlook at a time when european nobility developed a penchant for hunting scenes he didn't paint deer and cakes instead he opted for
exotic animals unknown to most of his viewers. despite a grad of ill will the people didn't have the opportunity to see wild animals in captivity for the foreseeable nothing like hippopotamus i or an elephant the salesman it's mean can says he if you look at his painting of the hippopotamus hunt he will think what had a dreadful beast what a monster the bones to be of more as it happens rubens modeled his portrayal on an exhibit of a baby hippopotamus displayed in florence's museum of natural history the opposite of us the no there. there was nothing rubens wasn't interested in and his knowledge was encyclopedic. but evidently the taxidermist in florence had never seen a live hippo and rubens can't be blamed for the imaginative portrayal.
in his hometown rubens was not just revered as a painter he was respected as a sophisticated and area dyed intellectual a european well ahead of his time. he maintained a close working relationship with the antwerp printing company plantain marie. its owner had been a friend since childhood his residence boasted many works by rubens who painted portraits of the entire family. rubens often visited his friend they shared a passion for literature towards the end of his life rubens library was so
extensive that he moved it into an entire house bordering his property. he also illustrated books on religious and philosophical themes and admired the ethical integrity of the roman stoic philosopher seneca. when the flemish philosopher used to slip serious published a critical edition of senecas writings in sixteen fifteen rubens provided the illustrations in this way his work reached an audience far beyond his home in antwerp. when we talk about ribbons we're also talking about ribbons copies of which they must be several tens of thousands and by commissioning in cravings of his paintings he himself was a driving full suit that dissemination. of the soul of the creation of prints that we distributed and copied within and outside of europe. and
troops rubin iana research institute was set up to document all of ruben's work. it has records of the entire scope of his output from sketches and paintings to realize designs it's a mammoth project. even in ruben's lifetime you could find copies of his work across the entire catholic world for example in central and south america in the old kingdoms of mexico in peru in many remote churches high up in the andes they're all to pieces modeled after ribbons the originals. in the. sheehan's. rubin's assigned a large portion of his commissions to his students but he always added the finishing touches the exact process in his studio remains a mystery it's difficult to assess how much he left to his assistants in
sixteen eighteen he wrote to an english collector who had declined his studio works and insisted that only the master's hand would do your excellent c. must not think that the others are mere copies for they are so well re touched by my hand that they are hardly to be distinguished from originals. you can compare rubens studio to a modern day fashion house or architect this. an architect likes or norman foster doesn't draw every individual door handle. nor does a fashion designer like karl lagerfeld so every sleeve himself. from his studio in antwerp rubens exported his works to the world and he maintained good relations with his clients whether they were catholic or protestant. german
french or spanish his network was boundless. in sixteen twenty one he landed a major assignment in paris it was commissioned by maria de met at the mother of the french king a good twenty years earlier he had been among the guests at her wedding in florence now she asked him to organize the opulent decoration of a gallery and the newly built new looks. completed a series of twenty one paintings glorifying episodes in the life of maria de medici . he spent four years developing the impressive cycle during which time french painters and artisans were barred access to the gallery. cycle conceived for the exclusive viewing of france's nobility and power brokers is
still one of the country's most prized cultural treasures. today the paintings are on display in the loo floor. in antwerp archduchess isabella recognized that rubens european contacts and communication skills were valuable assets that could serve her diplomatic efforts spain and england word war she enlisted rubens now a widower to conduct negotiations and broker peace between england and spain. so rubens traveled to the spanish court in madrid. this time he was allowed to meet the king and he made a surprising discovery philip the fourth had acquired one of his works a painting commission the years before by antwerp city council.
the at a ration of the magic i. am every day i might even use it in different thoughtful he arrived in madrid in sixteen twenty eight you think when but twenty years after painting it you can saw the picture of you you saw the movie we don't know exactly where it had been on. but we do know that he then altered it considerably and also enlarged did that if it's nice to think that the king allowed and even encouraged him to do this king philip the fourth was an avid art fan of muscle. ribbons expanded the painting. adding a number of additional figures including himself.
ribbons on horseback. painted into the scene just like his role model t. toe to toe had done in venice. rubens had a knack for marrying art with politics for almost four years he spent more time traveling to secret negotiations between madrid and london than he did at his studio. his diplomatic efforts were a success helping to seal a truce between spain and england and sixteen thirty. he was rewarded with a knighthood from king charles the first. indian loose from that still leaves if rubens were alive today he'd have hundreds of emails in his inbox every day had he no he'd be a free. flier. and personal friend of. america. i'm going to be campaigning in all sorts of ways on their behalf or.
produce works commissioned by leading aren't collectors. in short he'd know everyone who was anyone. a celebrity. and celebrity rubin's embellish to one of his few self portraits with attributes characteristic of court portraiture a glove sword and column he never betrayed himself as a painter in sixteen thirty at the age of fifty three he turned a new leaf in his personal life i decided to marry because i concluded that i was not yet suited for celibacy. i chose a young woman from a good but bush family although everyone recommended that i marry a noble woman. at the age of sixteen his bride. was
young indeed. we now see rubens devoting less time to diplomatic work for. the party becomes less involved in politics. at the same time we also see that he's painting a different subject matter is he did. allegories of love for example in which is why for adopt the role of a muse all the data at all today to. the judgment of paris painted for the spanish king. rubens wife appears unmistakably as the goddess at the center of the composition. so unmistakably the artist immediately faced calls to paint close on to the figure. but he steadfastly refused. she also served as the model for one of his best known paintings the three graces.
rubens perfected the art of painting skin the priest blace and dimpled almost palpable in its details rendition. the imperfections of his naked skin are a marked contrast to modern beauty ideals. of stanton said and yet you can feel how ardently hid my add this type of female body i think if you look at these female figures today you get a sense that these were women who felt good about their bodies and that's something that has a relevant message for women today because they are really enjoying their bodies sank and mentee in cup of a nice. rubin's young wife and then proved a new source of inspiration.
to these overs over. the it's a fact that his famous nudes the fur was a private portrait of preval to do and the us has never publicly displayed in l.m. from all soft on the bed leave from hell and from does that was somewhat was an erotic ode to his wife for her. eyes on ike even higher hopes than to us. to. the end of. the couple let a happy marriage reuben scaled back his diplomatic work. his studio meanwhile continued to accept commissions from abroad. a special assignment came from london charles the first who had knighted rubin's asked him to design the
a state located between antwerp and brussels a stately home in the flemish renaissance style. his wife was expecting their third child in ruben's wished for a quieter less strenuous life. he continued to manage his studio and antwerp but he began devoting more time to his personal interests and turned to landscape painting. this scene of a thunderstorm was executed solely for his own pleasure. the striking painting is seen here undergoing restoration in the workshop of vienna's
to store a museum. the passing of almost four hundred years has taken a toll on rubens surviving paintings. many have temporarily disappeared from public collections to undergo years of complex conservation today this canvas appears as fresh as it did when he added the final brush stroke. in his final years rubens withdrew from political life the spanish netherlands was still at war with the northern provinces. ruben's the open minded european no longer wish to get involved. now by divine grace i have regained my peace of mind. having renounced every sort of employment outside my blessid profession. destiny and i have become acquainted. i have cut through ambitions gold knots in order to reclaim my freedom.
two years before his death rubens painted his monumental work with the consequences of. painting as a dramatic appeal for peace. it can only be deciphered through close examination and in the context of the artist's life. as the god of war is being dragged into conflict by the fury alecto venus the goddess of love tries to hold him back but he had vance's undeterred with his blood stained sword. in. clothes then black long suffering the euro throws up her arms in desperation. tears streaming down her cheeks. behind her the door to the temple of janice has been left ajar.
is beside himself and pays no heed to venus and the angels. as he walks over corpses he also destroys the arts and letters represented by a book and rubens crumpled up sketch for the three graces lying on the ground. on the other side a dead architect and a broken lute. affright mother flees with her child accompanied by pestilence and famine which reubens called the inseparable partners of war. it's a timeless antiwar statement. rubens himself never experienced peace in europe the eighty years war began before his birth and continued beyond his death. he died in six hundred forty and was laid to rest and and st james church which
remained draped in mourning for six weeks. more than eight hundred sixty masses were offered at different locations for the repose of his soul. ruben's left behind a unique legacy. he remains a giant of the art world who still draws millions of museum visitors with paintings that he executed for europe's kings nobility and both catholics and protestants. he's known as the homer of painting because so many of his works tell a story. today his most private images are on public display the subject of millions of snapshots. would ruben's approve. for someone who devoted so much energy to diplomacy it seems safe to say that
rubens would be pleased that his paintings are appreciated by an international audience. for sarah willis the horn. joiner on a journey musical discovery lending the homeless of course a musical project in los angeles does just that his project is called the l.a. streets and i'm happy to be taking part today. my.
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