Peter Paul Rubens: Designer and Diplomat

Although Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most prominent painters of the seventeenth century, he was much else besides. An antiquarian scholar, a connoisseur of clothing, a designer of tapestries, prints, and illustrated book title pages, he also designed the triumphal entry in which in 1635 the new governor of the Spanish Netherlands, the brother of King Philip IV of Spain, paraded through the streets of Antwerp past enormous temporary arches and stages contrived by the artist to convey a political message. Rubens was no stranger to politics, for he had served the Archduchess Isabella, a previous ruler of the Spanish Netherlands, as an envoy, preparing the way for peace negotiations between Spain and England, in 1630. Rubens also remodeled his Antwerp house, creating a courtyard exterior resembling an Italian palazzo. An abundance of original material in New York collections allows a firsthand study of aspects of Rubens’s art and design. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.