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An overview of the most important dates in the life and work of Peter Paul Rubens.
Peter Paul Rubens spends almost twelve of the first twenty years of his life in Germany. In Antwerp he studies under three teachers in succession, and at the age of 21 becomes a master painter.
Rubens begins his career not in Antwerp, but in Italy, where he lives for almost eight years. There he is introduced to Italian art, as well as the many traces of antiquity, all of which play a decisive role in his development as a painter.
Following his years in Italy, Rubens remains in Antwerp, where he achieves his breakthrough almost immediately and becomes the most important artist of his generation. In the decade beginning in 1610, he starts a family and settles on the Wapper in what is now the Rubens House.
It is with Peter Paul Rubens the painter that we are most familiar. But Rubens was also a diplomat, designer of tapestries, architect, maker of prints and illustrations for books, collector, etc. These activities reach a peak during the decade beginning in 1620, when Rubens becomes a genuine figure of renown throughout Europe. This decade also involves a number of personal tragedies.
In the last decade of his life, Rubens retires from diplomacy, continues to be an active member of European high society and takes on major commissions. He spends happy years with his second wife, and in the final stage of his life owns a charming country estate, but must also contend with increasing health problems.