Peter Paul Rubens is known as the greatest Northern European Artist of the Baroque period, which followed the Italian Renaissance. During the Baroque period (about 1600-1750), the arts took on a greater liveliness, especially in religious life. Stimulation of the senses and elaborate decoration become the rule. All aspects of life were touched in some way by the arts.

Ruben was raised in Antwerp, Flanders (now Belgium), the part of the Netherlands under Spanish rule. He had an aristocratic education, serving as a page in the court of the local countess and studyng art under local master painters. At twenty-one he became a master of the local artists' guild.

His true artistic development began during an eight year stay in
Italy, where he studied the controlled, harmonious forms of classical Roman sculpture and the great art of the Renaissance. He was greatly influenced by the expressiveness of Michaelangelo and Raphael and the bold, brilliant colorings of the Titian. Rubens established a new style of large, colorful paintings. He brought together Renaissance and Baroque ideas to form artwork that display energy, emotion and movement.

After Rubens returned to Flanders in 1608, he was appointed court painter to the Spanish governors of the
Netherlands. He also advised kings and princes of Europe on art collecting and served as a diplomat for the court. Ruben's large-scale, vivid, energetic style of painting influenced many generations of great artist.


LION-Rubens captured the strength and gesture of the great lion in black and white chalk heightened with black. The expression of the lion is intense and powerful. This is a sketch and only part of what became "Griffin & a Mountain Lion."

The drawing is bold, dramatic and interesting for the variety of lines used by the artist. The eyes are drawn with define lines in a clear, powerful manner. The structure of the animal's face is indicated by the highlights and shading. Rapid lines show the powerful legs. The lines also reveal the form of the lion and define the three-dimensional space around the animal.

Because Ruben did so many sketches and had many assistants to finish painting the sketches he made, it was possible for him to do many paintings.

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