The German born Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) studied in Italy early in his career and was based in Belgium. In Italy, he mastered the new Baroque style of art.
In 1629, Philip IV, King of Spain, sent Rubens on a mission to London. He so impressed King 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.
This is the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by Peter Paul Rubens. It consists of two canvases measuring approximately 8.5m x 6m (28 x 20ft) and two others 12m x 3m (40 x 10ft). The three main canvasses depict The Union of the Crowns, The Apotheosis of James I and The Peaceful Reign of James I. The dramatic flourishes of the works are typical of Baroque painting.
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