Peter Paul Rubens
A much sought-after artist
One of the most gifted and sought after artists of his day, Rubens had an international list of customers headed by kings and princes.
King James I commissioned him to paint the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall Palace.
Rubens lived much in Antwerp (modern-day Belgium) but like Inigo Jones had studied in Italy early in his career.
There he mastered the new baroque style, art full of movement, three-dimensional effects and dramatic lighting, and combined this with a northern artist’s love of detail.
Much later, in 1629, Philip IV, King of Spain, sent Rubens on a mission to London.
He so impressed Charles I that he received the prestigious commission for the Banqueting House ceiling - which he and his assistants painted back in Antwerp - and was knighted for his services as a peacemaker.
Did you know?
Rubens was an influential diplomat, as well as an artist, whose work brought him to England. A fellow diplomat said he ‘had grown so rich by his profession that he appeared everywhere, not like a painter but a great cavalier’.
Find out more
Stories from the Banqueting House at Whitehall:
- Rubens's painted ceiling
- Inigo Jones, architect and designer
- The execution of Charles I
- A building history: Banqueting House