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Rubens, Sir Peter Paul (1577–1640)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1192

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Rubens, Sir Peter Paul (1577–1640). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Flemish artist, the foremost painter of the grand Counter-Reformation. He went as a court painter to the Duke of Mantua in 1600. In 1606 he painted the altarpiece of the Sta Maria in Vallicella in Rome. On his return to Antwerp he was appointed court painter to the Spanish governors of the Netherlands. His first great commissions were for Antwerp Cathedral, The Raising of the Cross (1610), and the Descent from the Cross (1611–1614). For the church at Malines he produced the Miraculous Draught of Fishes. For the Medici series he designed the tapestry Triumph of the Eucharist, which found a home in the Spanish convent Descalzas Reales. A series of religious paintings followed: St. Ignatius of Loyola Healing the Possessed (1619), Martyrdom of St. Livinus (1633), Adoration of the Magi (1624), the Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine showing the fourteen auxiliary saints (1628), Assumption (1626), and Last Judgment (1616). He also painted smaller religious works, including Christ and the Doubting Thomas (1613), Flight into Egypt (1614), and Lamentation over the Dead Christ (1614). His decoration for the Jesuit Church in Antwerp consisted of 39 ceiling paintings commissioned in 1620. All but three were burned along with the church in 1718. Many of his compositions were engraved. The series of 15 engravings known as the Images of the Holy Apostles was published between 1646 and 1650. Earlier versions of the Holy Face, Mater Dolorosa, and Christ as Salvator Mundi were also engraved. Toward the end of his life he was knighted by King Charles I of Great Britain.


  • Rubens, sir Peter Paul (1577–1640);
  • court painter to duke of mantua, in 1600;
  • paintings, altarpiece of sta Maria in Vallicella, Rome