Rubens sketch discovered


Newly discovered sketch by Rubens, photo Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Sketch by Peter Paul Rubens discovered

Six people look upwards in worship. They stand between two pillars and in the background an angel looks down on them. An oil sketch with this image that was for sale last year at an art shop in The Hague appears to have been painted by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640).

Art historian Emilie den Tonkelaar, working for art dealer Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, first saw the canvas and soon thought that it might be a Rubens. “First and foremost because of the details, we see an incredible expertise in them. But an infrared photograph made by the owner was decisive. Under the painting the word adorans can be read, which means worshipping. Rubens often wrote on a panel the subject of his sketch, so he knew which image it would be.”

The work has been given the name The secular hierarchy in worship. Rubens painted it as a design for a tapestry series he made at the beginning of the 17th century for a Franciscan monastery in Madrid. That is why we do not see where the people so full of worship look at: that is visible on another work. They look at a monstrance, a holder in which a host is exhibited.

The people in the painting are the political protagonists of that time: Emperor Ferdinand II [of the Holy Roman Empire], King Philip IV [of Spain], his wife Elisabeth of France and the sponsor of this series of tapestries, Isabella of Spain.

Biggest project

The tapestry series, Triumph of the Eucharist, according to Rubens expert Friso Lammertse belongs to the most beautiful works of the painter’s oeuvre. “It was one of the biggest projects in the life of Rubens.” Of the series of twenty tapestries, up to now 17 oil sketches were known. The newly discovered sketch is number eighteen. The tapestry series is still visible in the monastery.

Where the canvas has been for all these years before the current owner bought it is not known. “We know that Rubens found these sketches so important that he kept them until his death”, says Den Tonkelaar. “So what has happened after that, we do not know. But that this is happening is incredibly rare, really very special.”

The sketch is not in good condition. It is partially overpainted. … “What we are going to do first is to contact the owner to discuss what he wants to do with it”, says Den Tonkelaar. “At least we will have to think about a realistic value for insurance.”

The newly discovered Rubens sketch

Meanwhile, the Dutch royal family intends to sell a drawing by Rubens at Sotheby’s. Instead of offering it to a Dutch, or Flemish, museum, for a reasonable prize, this masterpiece may now end up in a private collection where the public won’t be able to see it and experts won’t be able to study it.

Rubens painting rediscovered after centuries


The newly rediscovered portrait of the Duke of Buckingham by Rubens dates from around 1625

From the BBC in Britain today:

Rubens’ Duke of Buckingham ‘found’ after 400 years

A ‘lost’ portrait by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens has been rediscovered after almost 400 years.

The 17th century Flemish artist‘s “head study” of the Duke of Buckingham was identified by Dr Bendor Grosvenor from BBC Four’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces.

It was in Glasgow Museums’ collection and on public display at the city’s Pollok House stately home.

But overpainting and centuries of dirt meant it was thought to be a later copy by another artist.

The restored portrait of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham, was authenticated as a Rubens by Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis in Antwerp.

He said it was a “rare addition to Rubens‘s portrait oeuvre, showing how he approached the genre”.

Dr Grosvenor said: “The chance to discover a portrait of such a pivotal figure in British history by one of the greatest artists who ever lived has been thrillingly exciting.”

The portrait of the duke in a doublet with an elaborate lace collar and a sash dates from around 1625.

He was a controversial figure in the Jacobean era who rose from minor nobility to become one of the favourites of James I, who was James VI in Scotland.

The nature of their relationship has been the source of much debate. Some experts claim they were lovers, while others believe it was a close platonic friendship.

Renovation work carried out by English Heritage at Apethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire, one of the king’s favourite residences, revealed a secret passage linking the two men’s bedchambers.

The Duke was assassinated in 1628 at the age of just 35, three years after James died.

Overpainting of the background and other areas by a later artist, along with hundreds of years of dust and dirt, had obscured Rubens’ work.

But scientific analysis of the wood it was painted on dated it to the 1620s, and found it had been prepared in a way done by Rubens’ studio.

Additional cleaning and x-rays of the hair showed it was not a copy but was by the artist himself.

The painting underwent conservation work by restorer Simon Gillespie to return it to its original appearance.

It will return to display at Pollok House.

The painting will feature in the first programme of the new series of Britain’s Lost Masterpieces at 21:00 BST on BBC Four on 27 September.

Painter Rubens’ mother’s testament discovered in Belgium


Rubens' mother's testament

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

A Belgian amateur historian has accidentally found a testament of the mother of the painter Peter Paul Rubens. The 73-year-old Willy Stevens found the document of Mary Pypelinckx in the National Archives of Ghent.

Stevens looked at records for writing a book on local history when he stumbled upon a bundle of papers from a 16th century notary from Antwerp. The papers were not inventoried, and actually should have been in another archive.

One of the pieces turned out to be a will which Pypelinckx had recorded in 1583 because she was ill. She would eventually remain alive until 1608.

The archive calls the document “a fine addition to the Rubens family history.” So we now know more details about her eldest son Jan Baptist, about whom little was known.

Pypelinckx wanted her son to take over her wool trade. In the will she reminded him to learn more about it, “om heuren zone te beter couragie te geven om hem des te meer daer inne te oeffenen” [to give her son more courage to get more experienced in it].

The testament will now be restored first and then it will go to the appropriate State Archive, the Antwerp-Beveren one.

Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Flemish painters during revolution


This video is called Hermitage Amsterdam 2009 – 2013.

The Hermitage in Amsterdam is a museum in the Netherlands. It is a dependency of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg in Russia, which cannot expose all of its extensive art collections in its own buildings.

Much of the Hermitage art was once property of the Russian imperial family.

At present, there is an exhibition in the Hermitage in Amsterdam called Rubens, Van Dyck & Jordaens. Flemish painters from the Hermitage.

This video is called Exhibition Rubens, Van Dyck & Jordaens in Hermitage Amsterdam extended to 15 June 2012.

There are 75 paintings and twenty drawings. I saw them on 18 May.

Also Flemish paintings from Saint Petersburg, by painters other than the three famous artists from the exhibition name, are on show there in Amsterdam. Basically, those Flemish paintings have in common that they are from the first half of the seventeenth century. Rubens lived 1577-1640; Anthonie van Dyck 1599-1641; Jacob Jordaens 1593-1678.

That was an interesting revolutionary period in Belgian, Dutch, and European history. It was the second half of the eighty years’ war between the Spanish and Austrian Habsburg monarchs on one side, and the rebels who wanted to break free from the Habsburgs after the revolt against the Spanish king’s economic and religious policies in the 1560s in the Netherlands. So, this exhibition now in Amsterdam brings up questions: of art history, but also of general history.

In this article, I will mainly use “the Netherlands” as authors then used it: not just the present state of that name, but, roughly, present day Belgium (and Luxembourg) as well.

One way to look at that long conflict is to consider it as a conflict between feudalism and the rising bourgeoisie.

Already in the late middle ages, towns and their bourgeois inhabitants were comparatively strong in the western Netherlands: Flanders, Antwerp city in the west of Brabant duchy, Zeeland, Holland.

While the eastern Netherlands (French-speaking Walloon regions, German-speaking eastern Luxembourg, the east of Brabant duchy, Gelderland duchy, Overijssel province) were more conservative, more like much of continental Europe: hierarchical, with the nobility and the high level Roman Catholic clergy more powerful than the towns.

The 1560s revolt against King Philip II of Spain, with its iconoclasm against the rich Roman Catholic church, was especially in the western Netherlands. The bulwark of the townspeople; and of the Protestant religion growing among them.

After defeats in the 1570s, in the 1580s the armies of the Spanish king, now under more able military leadership, starting from the feudal south-east, managed to re-conquer the urban south-west. And the north-east; which, however, they were unable to hold, as the big rivers through the central Netherlands were a military obstacle.

So, the military frontier between the Spanish monarchy and the new Dutch republic became not an east-west divide, but a north-south divide, more or less along the present border between Belgium and the Netherlands.

That was bad news for rebels in the south, many of whom fled to the north. In some Dutch cities in Holland county, the majority of inhabitants now consisted of refugees from the Spanish occupied Netherlands. This contributed to Amsterdam city becoming the commercial capital of Western Europe soon.

Previously in the sixteenth century, that had been Antwerp. When the Spanish forces conquered Antwerp, that was a disaster for that prosperous city. About half the people fled to the northern Netherlands (or to Protestant towns in Germany, like the family of painter Rubens). And for those who stayed in Antwerp, income went down. As the war continued, and the estuary of the Scheldt river, on which Antwerp trade depended, was in rebel northern hands.

The artists Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens had in common that they all worked in Antwerp during that time. In 1609, a twelve years’ truce between the independent and the Spanish Netherlands started. Which meant some economic recovery, and some more possibilities for artists, in Antwerp. Those artists, however, had to recognize the victory of the Spanish monarchy, of the feudal old order, in the southern Netherlands, including Antwerp. The Roman Catholic church needed many new altar paintings after the 1560s iconoclasm, for its counter-reformation propaganda.

As for the position of an artist like Rubens in the southern Netherlands, compared to an artist like Rembrandt in the north, I will now paraphrase from an earlier blog post.

At an exhibition in The Hague, one exhibit made a visual statistic comparison between the paintings of Rubens and Rembrandt.

Rembrandt admired the older Rubens, and bought a painting by him.

Both Rembrandt and Rubens are often seen as baroque painters, influenced by earlier Italian examples.

They spoke the same language, Dutch, and lived in what was still seen as the seventeen united provinces of the Low Countries.

With both the bourgeois republicans who in Rembrandt’s and Rubens‘ days ruled the north, and the Habsburg monarchs who ruled the south, at least initially still hoping to unite all seventeen provinces under their own rule.

Nevertheless, the statistics of the various categories of subjects in Rubens’ and Rembrandt’s artistic productions show significant differences between the two artists.

Differences in artistic views between two individuals, doubtlessly.

But also differences showing how different socially and politically Rubens’ South and Rembrandt’s North had become since the Dutch revolt against the Roman Catholic Spanish absolute monarchy had started in the 1560s.

This video is called The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn (Part I).

And here is Part II.

These are the figures; percent of total works by Rubens and Rembrandt:

Altar paintings: Rubens 15%, Rembrandt 0%

Biblical paintings, not commissioned by a church: Rubens 20%, Rembrandt 20%

Antique mythology and history: Rubens 40%, Rembrandt 5%

Portraits: Rubens 15%, Rembrandt 60%

Self-portraits: Rubens 0%, Rembrandt 10%

Scenes from daily life and landscapes: Rubens 10%, Rembrandt 5%

While Rubens was originally from a Protestant, rebel, and refugee Antwerp family, and made his peace with the Roman Catholic Church and the monarchy later, Rembrandt’s views are closer to the republican Dutch revolt.

The figures show that Rembrandt, contrary to Rubens, made zero altar paintings.

In the northern low countries, the newly established Protestant church did not commission them.

Neither did the Roman Catholic church, now on the margins of legality.

If we put both Christian religious categories together, 20% of Rembrandt’s paintings fitted in the “Christian” category, vs. 35% of Rubens’.

Rembrandt himself was not an official member of any church, and was free to do that in “tolerant” Amsterdam.

The Bible was interesting to him as a source of subjects, but over all, religion did not play as big a role in his work as in Rubens’.

Rembrandt painted far less historical and mythological paintings than Rubens.

In countries other than the Dutch Republic, these types of paintings often made complimentary allusions to contemporary princes and nobles, and/or were often commissioned by them.

In The Netherlands, there was no monarchical court comparable to this.

There was only the Stadhouder‘s court.

Which would have liked very much to be a princely court like elsewhere in Europe; but constitutionally wasn’t.

Rembrandt got a commission from the princely court (princely, as the Stadhouders were also absolute monarchs in the tiny statelet of Orange in southern France).

But when his portrait of Princess Amalia von Solms, wife of Stadhouder Frederik Hendrik, turned out to be not flattering enough, his relationship to that court deteriorated.

The Hermitage Amsterdam exhibition notes that Stadhouder Frederik Hendrik prefered painters from the feudal southern Netherlands, though that region was the military enemy, to “bourgeois” northern painters like Rembrandt. He also prefered Gerard van Honthorst to Rembrandt as a painter of portraits of his wife. Honthorst was not from the Spanish occupied southern Netherlands. However, his home province Utrecht in the central Netherlands was less bourgeois rebellious than Rembrandt’s Holland. And Honthorst had spent much time in feudal Italy.

Nevertheless, if compared to Rubens, Rembrandt painted many more portraits.

Not commissioned by princes or nobles, but by the newly emerged bourgeoisie. Dutch art historian Bert Biemans who studied the economic side of seventeenth century Dutch art, estimates that a million paintings were painted then in the Netherlands. Many, compared to other countries then. As the Dutch bourgeoisie who might buy art bought comparatively more than mainly upper class people in other countries.

That Rembrandt painted so many more portraits than Rubens may be a sign of a stronger bourgeoisie; and of stronger individualism in the northern low countries.

Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens, like Rembrandt, were from “bourgeois” families. However, Antwerp bourgeois, including artists, if they wanted to survive, unlike Rembrandt, had either to become refugees or to accept a social order in which nobles and Roman Catholic clergy were of higher rank than them. Here, one can also see differences between the three individuals. Rubens, being both a successful painter and a diplomat, managed to climb on the social ladder. So did Van Dyck, whom the king of England knighted not so long before the English revolution upset the old order in ways similar to the sixteenth century Dutch revolt. Jordaens, from an affluent merchant family, sold his works to fellow bourgeois, not to the church or the nobility. Except for the court of Stadhouder Frederik Hendrik: a princely-feudal enclave in the northern bourgeois republic.

How Revolutionary Were The Bourgeois Revolutions? by Neil Davidson; review here.

Rubens out of museum for money?


This video is called Peter Paul Rubens.

Not just dinosaur fossils; also art is under threat of being driven out of public museums by millionaires.

From British daily The Guardian:

Save our Rubens, historian urges

Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent

Friday June 6, 2008

The Tate has until the end of July to raise £6m to save an exquisite Peter Paul Rubens sketch. And, according to historian David Starkey, the possibility that the work might leave the country is “absolutely unthinkable”.

The sketch is not simply evidence of a great artist’s first, questing thoughts, but an integral part of Britain’s history, argued Starkey yesterday.

It is the original plan for the magnificent ceiling of the Banqueting House, London, the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace, most of which burned down in 1698. The subject is the apotheosis of James I, commissioned by his son, Charles I. The final work was installed in 1635-6.

“Mostly it doesn’t matter where a Rubens is, or where a Turner is. But when you have a concatenation of history, place and biography like this then yes, it really does matter,” said Starkey.

The sketch is valued at £11m. But with tax concessions the Tate can purchase it for £6m, of which £1.56m has already been raised. The museum, which is appealing for public donations, has arranged a deadline of the end of July before the work goes on the open market. It is being sold by the family of Viscount Hampden, which has owned it for more than 200 years. It had been on loan to the National Gallery since 1981.

The painting was a representation of the Stuart political agenda, demonstrating the divine right of kings. The over-assertion of that doctrine was one of the factors that brought about the monarchy’s demise in the English Revolution. Charles I walked through the Banqueting House, beneath Rubens’ vision of his father, on his way to the scaffold on January 30 1649, having been found guilty of high treason.

The restoration of a painting by Rubens from London’s Courtauld Gallery has revealed that the work was probably not a commission, but created for the speculative market. Cain Slaying Abel, around 1608-09—one of the most significant works by the artist in the Courtauld’s collection—is due to go back on display next month, following an 11-month project to clean the work and address structural issues: here.

From The Art Newspaper:

Pre-Raphaelite collection saved for public display

Hammersmith & Fulham was considering selling the works

See also here.

Australia: Batavia ship from the same oak as Rembrandt’s and Rubens’ painters’ panels


Replica of BataviaFrom the Western Australian Museum:

New research work on timbers from the Dutch ship Batavia show that it was built from the same oak on which famous Flemish artists such as Rembrandt and Rubens painted their 17th century masterpieces.

Tree-ring dating shows that Western Australia‘s oldest ship timbers date back to seedlings growing in a Polish oak forest south of Danzig after 1324. In 1628, they were used to build the Batavia, which sank off Geraldton in 1629 on its maiden voyage to Indonesia.

By the time the ship was built in 1628, the wood beams sourced from the forests growing along Poland’s longest river was already 300 years old – making WA’s surviving timbers some of the oldest splinters in maritime history.

The link has been made for the first time by WA Museum maritime archaeology assistant curator Wendy van Duivenvoorde just after she received the results from a dendrochronology laboratory in The Netherlands.

Batavia struck grief off Morning Reef in the Abrolhos group of islands off Geraldton in 1629.

About 125 men, women and children died of ill health, drowned or were killed by mutineers who were later caught and hanged on the islands, about 60km from the WA mainland.

The wreck was discovered in 1963 and her timbers raised several years later.

Ms van Duivenvoorde said Batavia’s hull is the only surviving example of an early 17th century Dutch East Indiaman to be raised and preserved.

Until now, the hull had never been tree ring dated to determine how old or what type of oak it was, let alone the forest in Europe they had grown in – but a mix of patience and persistence has paid off, the historic timbers traced back to the same forest area on the Vistula River where Dutch painters sourced their solid wood panels or boards.

“Batavia’s timbers perfectly match the chronology established in the 1970s of Flemish painters‘ panels, which were made of oak,” she explained.

“Those Dutch panel painters used wood from a particular forest area in Poland where it was very fine-ringed, straight and easy to work with. So did the Dutch ship builders.”

Captain Cook: here.

Rubens, Rembrandt, differences in what they painted


Rubens, The rape of Europa

Today, an exhibition in The Hague, called After Neurath: Like sailors on the open sea.

It is about the Austrian philosopher Otto Neurath, an influence on twentieth century artists including Gerd Arntz.

Gerd Arntz and his colleagues made influential visual statistics and icons, including simple human figures on traffic lights, toilet doors, etc.

At this exhibition, one exhibit made a visual statistic comparison between the paintings of Rubens and Rembrandt.

Rembrandt admired the older Rubens, and bought a painting by him.

Both Rembrandt and Rubens are often seen as baroque painters, influenced by earlier Italian examples.

They spoke the same language, Dutch, and lived in what was still seen as the seventeen united provinces of the Low Countries.

With both the bourgeois republicans who in Rembrandt’s and Rubens‘ days ruled the north, and the Habsburg monarchs who ruled the south, at least initially still hoping to unite all seventeen provinces under their own rule.

Nevertheless, the statistics of the various categories of subjects in Rubens’ and Rembrandt’s artistic productions show significant differences between the two artists.

Differences in artistic views between two individuals, doubtlessly.

But also differences showing how different socially and politically Rubens’ South and Rembrandt’s North had become since the Dutch revolt against the Roman Catholic Spanish absolute monarchy had started in the 1560s.

This video is called The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn (Part I).

And here is Part II.

I unfortunately cannot reproduce the icons in the The Hague exhibit for the different categories of paintings here.

However, these are the figures; percent of total works by Rubens and Rembrandt:

Altar paintings: Rubens 15%, Rembrandt 0%

Biblical paintings, not commissioned by a church: Rubens 20%, Rembrandt 20%

Antique mythology and history: Rubens 40%, Rembrandt 5%

Portraits: Rubens 15%, Rembrandt 60%

Self-portraits: Rubens 0%, Rembrandt 10%

Scenes from daily life and landscapes: Rubens 10%, Rembrandt 5%

While Rubens was originally from a Protestant, rebel, and refugee Antwerp family, and made his peace with the Roman Catholic Church and the monarchy later, Rembrandt’s views are closer to the republican Dutch revolt.

The figures show that Rembrandt, contrary to Rubens, made zero altar paintings.

In the northern low countries, the newly established Protestant church did not commission them.

Neither did the Roman Catholic church, now on the margins of legality.

If we put both Christian religious categories together, 20% of Rembrandt’s paintings fitted in the “Christian” category, vs. 35% of Rubens’.

Rembrandt himself was not an official member of any church, and was free to do that in “tolerant” Amsterdam.

The Bible was interesting to him as a source of subjects, but over all, religion did not play as big a role in his work as in Rubens’.

Rembrandt painted far less historical and mythological paintings than Rubens.

In countries other than the Dutch Republic, these types of paintings often made complimentary allusions to contemporary princes and nobles, and/or were often commissioned by them.

In The Netherlands, there was no monarchical court comparable to this.

There was only the Stadhouder‘s court.

Which would have liked very much to be a princely court like elsewhere in Europe; but constitutionally wasn’t.

Rembrandt got a commission from the princely court (princely, as the Stadhouders were also absolute monarchs in the tiny statelet of Orange in southern France).

But when his portrait of Princess Amalia von Solms turned out to be not flattering enough, his relationship to that court deteriorated.

However, if compared to Rubens, Rembrandt did paint many more portraits.

Not commissioned by princes or nobles, but by the newly emerged bourgeoisie. Dutch art historian Bert Biemans who studied the economic side of seventeenth-century Dutch art, estimates that a million paintings were painted then in the Netherlands. Many, compared to other countries then. As the Dutch bourgeoisie who might buy art bought comparatively more than mainly upper-class people in other countries.

That Rembrandt painted so many more portraits than Rubens may be a sign of a stronger bourgeoisie; and of stronger individualism in the northern low countries.

So may be the fact that Rubens did not paint any self-portrait, while Rembrandt painted many; though there are various theories on Rembrandt’s self-portraits.

As for scenes from daily life, and landscapes, lumped together here as relatively small categories for both painters: this may show Rubens, and especially Rembrandt, as painters, different from their contemporaries.

Both types of paintings were popular in the Dutch bourgeois art market, and many painters specialized in them.

Including, eg, Jan Steen in genre painting.

Landscape painting may have become popular, as the Dutch Republic was one of the most densely populated and, pre-machine, industrialized areas of Europe, creating a market for painted idyllic counterweights.

Some Dutch seventeenth-century landscape painters specialized in special types of landscapes, like frozen canals and rivers in winter.

Though Rembrandt was born close to the Rhine river, where, as we know from other painters, in many winters, usually more severe in the seventeenth century than now, many citizens of Leiden came for skating, he seems to not have liked winter and skating.

As of all his paintings, only one is a winter scene.

There are still some 1500 Rubens paintings left, vs. 300 by Rembrandt and 36 by Vermeer. That is because Rubens had a workshop where many pupils did much of the painting.

On Rembrandt, John Berger, and Hadjinicolau: here.

Pierre Bourdieu and art: here.

Rubens’ imposing art couldn’t dazzle Europe’s Reformation. The Royal Academy is hosting an exhibition on Peter Paul Rubens. His art celebrated wealth and power in the face of Reformation, argues Noel Halifax: here.

Rubens’ and Brueghel’s paintings. Exhibition in The Hague


Rubens and Brueghel, The Garden of Eden

Recently, an exhibition on seventeenth century Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, and their co-operation, started in The Hague.

The exhibition is in the Mauritshuis, the main art museum of The Hague.

It was built in the seventeenth century by Johan Maurits van Nassau, the governor of Brazil, then for some time a Dutch colony.

In the seventeenth century, the nickname of the Mauritshuis was the Sugar House, as Governor van Nassau made lots of money from the sugar plantations in Brazil.

These plantations had been conquered by the Dutch from the Portuguese.

The new Dutch owners found out that in order to maximize sugar profits, they had to import extra slaves from Africa.

To make that possible, they conquered the important Portuguese slave export port Luanda in Angola.

That made the Dutch major players in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which they had not been until then.

In this way, war begot slavery, and slavery begot war.

Today, the Mauritshuis collection includes important works of art, by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, and others.

Also by Antwerp painter Rubens (1577-1640).

Rubens, who brings us to the subject of the temporary Mauritshuis exhibition on his relationship with Jan Brueghel; an exhibition which also includes drawings and paintings normally present elsewhere in Europe and the United States (before it was in The Hague, it was in Los Angeles in the USA).

Rubens, who, like the Mauritshuis building, brings up not just artistic questions, being a masterly painter; but also questions of art’s and artists’ relationships to society and politics.

Questions both on Ruben’s own life, and on his work after his death.

Rubens was originally from a family of Protestant rebels against, and refugees from, Spanish Roman Catholic absolutist authority in the southern low countries (later to become Belgium).

However, he made his peace with church and princely authorities, and worked for them, both as an artist and a diplomat.

These varied sources of income made him far more well off than most other artists, though not a millionaire.

Millions of dollars for Rubens’ paintings, like with many works by others, would only be made after their creator’s death, by people who mostly never put a single drop of paint on any canvas.

Rubens was mentioned in an article in Dutch NRC daily as one of the artists in the top ten for the money for which their work was sold.

He was an exception in that top ten, most others having made far less money from their work while alive than Rubens.

In Antwerp, Rubens lived near his colleague Jan Brueghel (1568-1625).

Jan Brueghel was the son of famous Pieter Brueghel, nicknamed ‘Peasant Brueghel’ for his depictions of village life.

His own nickname was ‘Velvet Brueghel‘, because of his delicate and detailed way of painting.

There were more talented painters in the Brueghel dynasty, including Jan’s brother Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Pieter used to be nicknamed ‘Hell Brueghel’ for depictions of hell and damnation. However, that work is now reattributed to Jan.

Jan Brueghel’s detailed style of work differed much from Rubens’ broad strokes.

Nevertheless, they valued each other as artists and became friends.

They also worked together on some of their paintings: Rubens often doing the main figures, Brueghel the animals, other details, and landscapes surrounding them.

Probably they did that each in their own studio, with their own materials.

The studios being so close together meant the canvases could be easily transported to the other artist when it was his turn to add to the painting.

Recent X-ray research of the paintings shows that Rubens sometimes thought Brueghel had not left enough space for the main figures, and then painted over part of Brueghel’s earlier work.

Two of the most famous examples of joint work by Brueghel and Rubens are The Garden of Eden, and Mars disarmed by Venus.

Both also did joint work with other painters, some of which is also at the exhibition.

Together with an unknown painter, Brueghel depicted Forest landscape with nymphs, dogs, and quarry.

This painting has as its subject hunting, reserved for princes and nobles in early seventeenth century Belgium.

It depicts animals of all sizes killed by the hunters: from red deer to small birds like great tits and bullfinches.

In Flora and Zephyrus from 1617, a cassowary is shown.

In the Garden of Eden, Brueghel depicted many birds, including teal, hoopoe, and golden pheasant.

A team of experts at Madrid’s Prado National Art Museum has identified Pieter Bruegel the Elder as the painter of a 400-year-old, previously unnamed masterpiece. The painting, called “The Wine of St. Martin’s Day“, is tempera on linen, and dates between 1565 and 1568: here.