Front Cover
 Title Page
 Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640
 Back Cover

Group Title: Young folks' library of choice literature, great artist series
Title: Rubens
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089023/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rubens a sketch
Series Title: Young folks' library of choice literature, great artist series
Alternate Title: Peter Paul Rubens
Physical Description: 48 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Keysor, Jennie Ellis, b. 1860
Educational Publishing Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Educational Publishing Company
Place of Publication: Boston ;
New York ;
Chicago ;
San Francisco
Publication Date: c1899
Subject: Artists -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Biographies -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Biographies   ( rbgenr )
individual biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
United States -- California -- San Francisco
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennie Ellis Keysor.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements on p. 2-4 of wrapper.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089023
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002251116
notis - ALK2878
oclc - 08131283

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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        Page 15
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        Page 43
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        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Back Cover
        Page 49
        Page 50
Full Text

P",blh-.ed eek. N Price. so per year.
S\oll. ) 3. No.'I* 159 D7Double Numbers, l, cs.

Young Folk's Library of Choice Literature




I.- 1- ir. [899, by
50 Bromfield St., Boston
S...iered at the Post Office, Boston, Mass., as'second-class matter






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(Texts that are accurate and authentic.)
Paper. C
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Edited, with introduction and notes, by I. A.
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Edited, with introduction and notes, by M. A.
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The Baldwin Library
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",Art manifests whatever is most exalted, and it
manifests it to all"-TAINE



Author of Sketches of American Authors"







1577- 1640.

In our study of Raphael' we had a glimpse of the
golden age of art in Italy. In our work on Murillo2
we saw what Spain was able to produce in pictures when
the whole of Europe seemed to be trying its hand at
painting. Moving north, we are to see in this sketch
what the little country now known as Belgium produced
in the same lines. For this we need hardly take more
than the one name, Peter Paul Rubens, for he repre-
sented very completely the art of Flanders or Belgium,
as we call it to-day.
If we love to read of happy, fortunate people, as
I am sure we do, we shall be more than pleased in
learning about Rubens. You know there is an old
story, that by the side of every cradle stand a good and
an evil fairy, who by their gifts make up the life of
the little babe within. The good fairy gives him a
wonderful blessing, perhaps it is the power to write
1. No. 136, Young Folk's library, Sketch of Rtaph1ael.
2. No. 137, Young Folk's LibIrary, Sketch of Murillo.


poems or paint pictures. Then the bad fairy, ugly
little sprite that he is, adds a portion of evil, perhaps
it is envy that eats the soul like a canker. And so they
alternate, the good and evil, until the sum of a human
life is made up, and the child grows up to live out his
years, marked by joy and sorrow as every life must be.
As we look at the men and women about us we feel,
often, that one or the other of these fairies must have
slept while distributing their gifts and so lost a. turn or
two in casting in the good or ill upon the babe, so
happy are some lives, so sorrowful are others. At
Rubens' cradle the evil fairy must well nigh have
forgotten his task, for the babe grew up one of the
most fortunate of men.
In order to understand as we should any great man,
we must always study his country and his time. No
man can be great enough not to be like the nation that
produced him, or the time when he came into the world.
For these reasons we love to study a man's time and
country, and, indeed, find it quite necessary if we would
understand him aright.
It is impossible to think of Rubens without associ-
ating him with Flanders and with Antwerp, his home
city. Here, then, is just a little about the history
of this most interesting country : One of the richest
possessions of Spain in the sixteenth century was known


as the Netherlands. When the doctrines of Luther
began to spread many of the Netherlanders accepted
them. Philip II., the terrible and gloomy king of
Spain, seized this opportunity to persecute them cruelly.
Many of them resisted, and then Philip sent his unscru-
pulous agent, the Duke of Alha, to make the people
submit. This he partially accomplished by the greatest
cruelty. The northern provinces, which we know as
Holland, declared their independence. The southern, of
which Flanders was the most flourishing province, longed
so for peace and the prosperity that accompanies it, that
they submitted to Spain. The people then grew rich as
weavers, merchants and traders. Splendid cities like
Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp became the seats of
commerce and their artists and workmen of all sorts were
known throughout Europe for their thrift and the
excellence of their workmanship. We recall how
Raphael's cartoons were sent to Flanders to be copied in
tapestry the finest in the world.
Of all the cities dear to Flemish hearts Antwerp was,
perhaps, the most beautiful and the most prosperous.
It was situated on the river Scheldt about twenty miles
from the sea. In the time of its greatness one might
count almost at any time twenty-five hundred ships and
boats riding at anchor in front of the city, and within
her walls, two hundred thousand people lived in plenty.



LL- Pitt


There were marble palaces, beautiful churches, a magnifi-
cent town hail (Hotel de Ville); and the houses of the
humble showed by their cleanlines and comfortable
surroundings that enjoyment of life was restricted to no
one class.
This matter of religious faith, however, was bound
to come up again and bring, as it proved, ruin upon the
city. A body of people who thought it wrong to have
pictures and statues of saints, and of Mary and her Son,
gathered together and for four days went from one
Flemish town to another and destroyed everything of
the sort to be found in the churches. Four hundred
places of worship were desecrated, many of them
within the city of Antwerp. Because of their zeal
against the use of so-called images they were called
If formerly they had been punished for thinking
things against the established religion of the State, what
now could be expected when they had done such
sacrilegious things?

Again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with terror smote;
And again the wild alarm sounded from the tocsin's throat."

Our imagination cannot picture things so terrible as
were perpetrated upon the inhabitants of Antwerp for
their part in the destruction of the "images." This

k 2.




terrible event is known in history as The Spanish Fury.
Thousands of her people were killed, most of her palaces
were burned, and the treasure of her wealthy citizens
was stolen. Property was confiscated to the Spanish
Government. Death and terror, theft and rapine
reigned in the beautiful city of the Scheldt. When
the dead were buried, the charred ruins of buildings
removed, and the Spanish soldiery withdrawn, the
mist-beclouded Netherland sun shone out on a dead
city which even to-day bears marks of the Spaniard's
fury. Grass grew in what had been its busiest streets,
trade almost ceased, and thousands of weavers and
other artisans went to England where they could pursue
their vocations unmolested.
Philip was apparently satisfied with the chastisement
he had inflicted. He began to restore the confiscated
property to its rightful owners, and to encourage the
industry he had so cruelly destroyed. He even made
Flanders an independent province under the Archduke
Albert and the Infanta Isabella. Although peace had
returned and a degree of prosperity again prevailed, yet
many other things were irretrievably gone, and the
people lived every day in the sight of painful reminders
of their former greatness.
In art, too, these low country provinces had made
much progress.. There had been Hubert and Jan

ew)" 11D




Van Eyck who had painted with minute skill devout
pictures. They had, moreover, given to the world the
process of painting in oils. This discovery, worked out
with the extreme care natural to the Netherlanders,
changed the whole character of painting, and made it
possible to have such colorists as Titian, Raphael and
Rubens. We must remember that the colors used in
fresco painting were mixed with a sort of "size" and that
they had none of the richness of oil colors. There had
been other artists of note besides the Van Eycks. Hans
Memling with the spirit of a real poet, had painted
his sweet visions, and to-day it is not for the opulent
merchants who added fame and wealth to their city in
their time, but for this poet-painter, Memling, that
we venerate the ancient and stately city of Bruges.
Quentin Matsys, the brawny blacksmith, who, for love
of an artist's daughter, became a painter, comes to our
minds as a name of no mean fame in the early records
of Flemish painting.
The guild system, where every class of artisans was
organized for protection and for the production of good
work, touched even the fine arts. No man could set up
for a good painter who had not served his apprentice-
ship, and whose work was not satisfactory to experts.
When Rubens was born he came as the heir of all
that had been accomplished before him. He only






carried on what his predecessors had begun, but he
carried it on in a matchless way so that he was able
to leave to succeeding painters not only all he had
inherited, but a goodly legacy besides the legacy of a
pure life, a glowing, natural, vigorous art. It seems to
me that right here is a lesson for us. May we not add
our mite, tiny though it be, to the ever-growing volume
of truth? I like this quotation in this connection, and
I hope you may see its beauty too -" The vases of
truth are passed on from hand to hand, and the golden
dust must be gathered into them, grain by grain, from
the infinite shore."
Rubens' birth took place in 1577, the year following
the Spanish Fury. When he was only seven, William
the Silent, the saviour and protector of the northern
provinces, was assassinated at the instance of Philip II.
When he was eleven, the Spanish Armada, the proudest
fleet that ever sailed the seas, sent to invade England
and punish Queen Elizabeth, was scattered by wind
and wave and dashed to pieces on alien rocks. The
Reformation was well established in England and
Holland, while France, led by Henry IV., was yet
uncertain whether or not to accept the new doctrines.
Such were some of the portentous events that marked
the advent and early years of the greatest of Flemish



The family of Rubens' father had lived for years in
Antwerp, but when Luther's doctrines were put forward
Jan Rubens, the father of our artist, believed in them.
For this reason he was compelled to flee from the city,
and his property was confiscated. He went to the
little village of Siegen, in western Germany, where his
illustrious son was born on June 29th, 1577. His birth
was on the day dedicated to the saints, Peter and Paul,
and so his parents gave the child their names. After the
residence of a year in this little town, the family
removed to Cologne, where they lived for ten years,
until the death of the father.
Jan Rubens was a lawyer and a learned man, and he
took pains that his sons should be thoroughly educated.
In addition to his heretical views regarding religion he
had grievously offended William the Silent and so was
doubly exiled. His wife remained with him, and by her
efforts kept him from prison, and added cheer to his
life of exile. This was the admirable Marie Pypeling,
the mother so revered by Rubens, and so deserving the
respect of all who know of her. A portrait of her by
her son is given in this sketch. To her he owed his
handsome face, his strong physique, his shrewdness and
his love of order.
Immediately after the death of her husband, Marie
Pypeling and her family, now consisting of two sons


and a daughter, returned to Antwerp. Her property,
which had been confiscated in those wild days at
Antwerp, was restored to her in the general restitution
with which Philip tried to compensate the citizens for
their losses in the Spanish Fury. From this time
Rubens was an adherent of the Catholic Church.
The education of Peter Paul, which was so carefully
begun by his father, was continued by his mother, in a
Jesuit College at Antwerp. He was an apt student
and soon attained the elements from which he became
a very learned man. He knew seven languages, was
interested and learned in science and politics. All
through his life he devoted some part of each day,
however busy he was with his painting, to general
reading. This, perhaps more than his early studies,
accounts for his elegant scholarship.
His mother was quite determined that this son
should be, like his father, a lawyer. His own tastes,
however, and a power to use the brush early displayed,
decided otherwise. It very soon became evident that
he was to be a painter good or bad who could tell
in those early days?
In accordance with a custom of the time, he was
placed as a page in the house of a nobleman of
Antwerp. To the talented and restless boy this life
was intolerable, and he soon induced his mother to



(Pette Gallery, Florence) HOLY PAMILY Rubens
(Pette Gallery, Florence)


allow him to enter the studio of Van der Haeght, a
resident artist of some repute and a close follower of
Italian Art. He was only thirteen at this time. Here
he learned to draw skillfully and, through the influence
of his teacher, he acquired a love of landscape art which
never left him.
From Van der Haeght and his mild but correct art,
Rubens, feeling his weakness in figure work, went to
the studio of the irascible and forcible painter Van Noort,
about whom critics have delighted to tell stories of
brutality. However true these may be, Rubens stayed
with him four years and never ceased to speak in praise
of his master's work. Here he became acquainted with
Jordaens, who used often to paint the animals in
Rubens' landscapes.
From Van Noort's studio the restless Rubens went to
study with Van Veen, who afterwards became court-
painter. When the Archduke Albert and Isabella
entered Antwerp in 1594, it was Van Veen who
decorated the triumphal arches used on the occasion.
We may judge that he did the work well, for he was
shortly selected to serve the new rulers as court painter.
Rubens' experience with Van Veen closed a ten years'
apprenticeship in the studios of Antwerp, and now he
determined to go to Italy, where he could study the
masters at first hand.


As a sort of parting work and, perhaps, because he
wished to impress more vividly on his mind those dear,
strong features of his mother, he painted that portrait
of her which we so much admire both for its subject
and its art. This image of his mother was an effectual
charm to carry with him in his travels a charm to
save him perhaps, from some of the stumbling places
into which a handsome young man away from home
might wander.
In May of 1600, after making all needful preparation,
our artist set out on his journey. It was natural that
he should direct his steps first to Venice. Titian had
but recently completed his productive life of nearly a
century. His misty atmosphere, his intense interest in
human life and, above all, his glowing color touched a
kindred cord in Rubens' nature. Then there were
Tintoretto and Veronese, almost as interesting to our
The Duke of Mantua, a most liberal and discerning
patron of art, was in Venice when Rubens reached that
city. One of the Duke's suite happened to be in the
house with Rubens. He took notice of the painter's
courtly bearing, his fine physique, and his ability to
paint, and introduced him to the Duke. Never did our
painter's handsome face and fine presence so quickly
win a patron. He was at once attached to the Duke's




;~~' '
~- ..


court and began copying for him the masterpieces of
Italy--the pictures of Titian, Correggio, Veronese,
leading all others. He also studied carefully the
work of Julio Romano, Raphael's famous pupil. He
accompanied the Duke to Milan, where he copied Leon-
ardo's great picture, The Last Szpper," besides
doing some original work.
The Duke had observed Rubens' courtly manner and
his keen mind. He decided that the painter was just
the person to send in charge of some presents to the
King of Spain, whose favor he was anxious to gain.
The gifts were made up of fine horses, beautiful pictures,
rare jewels and vases. Early in 1603, the painter set
out with his cavalcade, and after a stormy journey of
about three months they reached the Court of Spain.
He was cordially received and the gifts were delivered,
although the pictures had been somewhat damaged by
the rains which marked the last days of their trip. He
was asked to paint several portraits of eminent person-
ages of the court and he complied graciously.
He returned to Italy after somewhat more than a
year's absence. For some time he remained at Mantua
to paint an altar-piece for the chapel where the Duke's
mother was buried.
Later he went to Rome where he studied carefully
the works of Michael Angelo. In turn he visited all


the great art cities of Italy except Naples. He stopped
for some time at Florence, Bologna, and Genoa. At
the last place he received so many orders for his work
that he could not attend to them all. Everywhere he
went the fame of "the Fleming," as he was called in
Italy, had gone before him. In many of the cities he
made lengthy sojourns, copying the masterpieces that
pleased him, and painting originals highly prized to-day
in the galleries of Italy.
He had been in Italy eight years, when one day from
over the Alps came a courier in hot haste bearing to
Rubens the sad news that his mother lay at home very
ill. Not even waiting for permission from his patron,
the Duke, Rubens started north with a heavy heart, for
he felt sure that he should never see his mother again.
Although he rode with all haste, as he neared his home
city of Antwerp, he received the sad tidings he had so
much dreaded. Marie Pypeling had died nine days
before he left Italy. As was the custom in his country,
he secluded himself for four months in a convent
attached to the church where his mother was buried.
The profound sorrow for his mother, and the sudden
change from the life he had so recently led made him
melancholy. He longed for the skies, the pictures, and
the society of Italy. When he came forth from his
retirement, his countrymen could not bear the. thought

(Hermitage, St Petersburg)



. -1w


of their now illustrous artist returning to Italy. They
wanted him among them to glorify with his splendid
brush the now reviving city of the Scheldt.
The rulers of the city, Albert and Isabella, made him
court painter and gave him a good salary. He accepted
the office on condition that he should not have to live
at the court. It was with some regret that he gave up
returning to Italy, but the natural ties that bound him
to Antwerp were stronger. He hoped that he might
yet one day visit Italy. This part of his life-plan, how-
ever, he never carried out.
He was now thirty-two years old, respected of all men
not only for his power as a painter, but for his sterling
worth as a man. He had studied carefully the best art
that the world could show, and he had absorbed into
his own characteristic style what was best for him -
his style of painting was now definitely formed. His
fame as a painter was established from the Mediter-
ranean to the Zuyder Zee. He was overwhelmed with
orders for his pictures, so that he had plenty of money
at his command. He had the confidence of princes, and
was attached to one of the richest courts of Europe. A
crowd of anxious art students awaited the choice
privilege of entering his studio when he should open
one. It would seem that there was little left for this
man to desire in earthly things. The two he lacked he





speedily procured, a good wife and a happy home, both
destined to live always on the canvasses of this most
fortunate of painters.
In 1610, he married the lovely and beautiful Isabella
Brandt, the daughter of the Secretary of Antwerp.
Happy indeed were the fifteen years of their life
together, and often do we find the wife and their two
boys painted by the gifted husband and father. We
reproduce a picture of the two boys.
He bought a house on Meir Square, one of the noted
locations in Antwerp. He re-modelled it at great expense
in the style of the Italians. In changing the house he
took care that there should be a choice place to keep
and display his already fine collection of pictures, statues,
cameos, agates and jewels. For this purpose he made a
circular room, lighted from above, covered by a dome
somewhat similar to that of the Pantheon at Rome.
This room connected the two main parts of the house
and was, with its precious contents, a constant joy to
Rubens and his friends. The master of this palace, for
such it certainly was, lived a frugal and abstemious life,
a most remarkable thing in an age of great extrava-
gance in eating and drinking. Here is the record of
one of his days in summer : At four o'clock he arose,
and for a short time gave himself up to religious
exercises. After a simple breakfast he began painting.

xl i
^S"/ l




While he painted he had some one read to him from
some classical writer, and if his work was not too
laborious, he received visitors and talked to them while
he painted. He stopped work an hour before dinner
and devoted himself to conversation or to examining
some newly acquired treasure in his collection. At
dinner he ate sparingly of the simplest things and drank
little wine. In the afternoon he again began his work
at his easel, which he continued until evening. After
an hour or so on a spirited Andalusian horse, of which
he was always passionately fond, and of which he always
had one or more fine specimens in his stables, he spent
the remainder of the evening conversing with friends.
A varied assembly of visitors loitered in this hospitable
home. There were scholars, politicians, old friends--
perhaps former fellow-pupils in Antwerp studios. Occa-
sionally the princess Isabella came among the others, and
Albert himself felt honored to stand as god-father to
Rubens' son. Surely the wicked fairy did forget some
of the evil he was to have mixed with this life !
It was in connection with the building of this house
that the best known and perhaps the greatest work of
Rubens was painted: The Descent from the Cross,"
now in Antwerp Cathedral. It is said that in excavating
for the foundation to some of the new parts of Rubens'
house, the workmen unintentionally trespassed on some


adjoining ground belonging to the gunsmiths' guild.
In settlement for this Rubens was requested to paint a
picture of St. Christopher, the Christ-Bearer, as they
called him. Rubens complied with the request and
painted what to us to-day would seem a very strange
picture-a "triptych," that is a middle panel over
which two narrow side panels, hinged to the middle one,
could be closed. He interpreted the request of the
guild rather strangely too he thought it would please
them to represent in the several spaces of the triptych
all' who had ever carried Christ in their arms. In
the middle panel we have the men removing the dead
Christ from the cross, with the three Marys below, one
of whom, the Magdalen, is, perhaps, the most beautiful
woman Rubens ever painted. The light is wonderful,
coming, as it does, from the great white cloth in which
they would wrap our Lord. The form of the dead
Christ in its difficult position is a piece of masterly
drawing. This panel is, of course, the principal part of
the altar-piece. On one side of this was painted the
Virgin visiting St. Anne, and on the other we have the
aged St. Simeon presenting the Christ-Child in the
temple. If we close these side panels over the middle
one we find a space as large as the center panel. On
this Rubens painted St. Christopher with the child and
accompanied by a hermit carrying his lantern. Surely


it was a good-natured artist and a glowing and generous
soul who painted so much in response to a request for a
St. Christopher!
There were, however, trials for this fortunate man.
There were those who were jealous of his fame and
who said unkind things of him. In answer to their
jealousies he only said, "Do well and you will make
others envious; do better and you will master them."
He was called away from the home he loved so well.
In 1619, when the truce, under which Antwerp had
regained somewhat of her former greatness, was about
to expire, Rubens was sent to Spain to renew it. He
had hardly returned to Antwerp before Marie de
Medicis, the wife of Henry IV. of France- the Henry
of Navarre, of historic fame sent for the artist
to adorn her palace of the Luxemburg in Paris. He
was to paint twenty-one pictures for this purpose. They
were to describe the life of the queen. We give one
of the series. He accomplished this entire work in
glowing allegorical fashion in which mythological and
historical personages are sadly confused at times. If
there was occasionally this confusion, there were also
present the artist's strongest characteristics as a painter
- rich color and vigorous human action.
While in Paris he became intimately acquainted with
the Duke of Buckingham, the favorite of Charles I. of

~7~A 1A


(Museum, Madrid)

T ~

f' '

.p-? l:r




England. This nobleman visited Rubens at his home
in Antwerp and he was so pleased with the artist's
collection that he offered him ten thousand pounds
sterling for it complete. Rubens hesitated, for in the
collection there were nineteen pictures by Titian,
thirteen by Veronese, three by Leonardo, and three by
Raphael, besides many of his own best works. The artist,
however, was always thrifty, and he felt sure he could
soon gather another collection, so he accepted the offer.
In 1626, his lovely wife died. He mourned her
deeply, saying she had none of the faults of her sex."
To beguile his time he accepted another diplomatic
mission to Spain. This time he was to secure a strong
ally for Spain against the powerful Richelieu who then
held France in his hand as it were. Incidentally he
painted much while at Madrid. Among other work he
copied the Titians which were likely to be taken out of
the country at the marriage of the Infanta. At this
time, too, he undoubtedly met Velazquez, the able and
high-souled court painter of Philip IV. This was
certainly one of the most notable meetings in the history
of artists.
It was while at the court of Madrid at this time that
Jean of Braganza, afterward King of Portugal, invited
the artist to visit him at his hunting-lodge, and Rubens
set out with several of his followers, as was usual with


travellers of note in those days. Before he reached
the lodge Jean, hearing of so many attendants, and
dismayed at the expense of entertaining them, departed
suddenly for Lisbon. He wrote Rubens a courteous
letter telling him that state business detained him
and begged him to accept some money to defray the
expenses so far incurred on the journey. Rubens
replied in like courteous manner and returned the
money, saying that they had brought twenty times the
amount with which to pay their expenses.
An interesting story is related of their return. Over-
taken by dark night in the open country they took
shelter in a monastery. The next morning Rubens,
with an eye always quick to see rare and interesting
things, scanned the place carefully looking for some-
thing which might interest him. He was about to give
up the search as hopeless, when he discovered in a dark
corner a grand picture. It represented in more than
mortal fashion the beautiful things that a dead young
man, painted in the foreground, had renounced.
Rubens called the prior to him and begged to know
the name of the artist of so masterly a work. The
prior, an old, bowed man, refused saying, "He died to
the world long ago. I cannot disclose his name."
Then the artist said, It is Peter Paul Rubens who begs
to know." The prior started, for even in the remote-



ness of the isolated monastery the fame of that name
had gone, and fell in a dead faint at the artist's feet.
The attendants lifted the prior gently but he had
ceased to live. Through the ashy pallor they saw the
features of the young man in the picture yonder. They
instinctively turned to look that they might more
carefully compare the faces, and lo like some cloud-
vision, the picture had disappeared. Then they knew
that the dead monk there had painted the canvas from
the depth of his own experience.
From Madrid, Rubens was sent to England in the
interest of Spain. Here he was most kindly received by
Charles I., who made him a knight and presented him
with his own jeweled sword and a diamond ring. He
also gave him a hat-band set with precious stones which
was valued at two thousand pounds sterling. From
London he went to Cambridge where. the ancient
university conferred on him its highest degree. In
London he painted almost constantly. Among other
commissions he was given that of decorating the dining
room in Whitehall palace with nine pictures representing
the life of James I. To make the person or events of
this king's life attractive must have been an immense
task even for so supreme a genius as Rubens.
As he sat painting one day a courtier entered and
exclaimed, "Ah, his Majesty's Ambassadpr occasionally


amuses himself with painting." "On the contrary,"
responded Rubens who was always proud of his art,
" the painter occasionally amuses himself by trying to be
a courtier."
The influence of Rubens' visit to London must be
counted rather as artistic than political. It really was
the beginning of that desire for collecting pictures and
other things of the sort which has ever since distin-
guished the English nobility. On the Continent the
price of pictures rose on account of England's demand.
For Charles I., Rubens bought the entire collection of
the Duke of Mantua which he knew so well.
Rubens was tired of the almost fruitless mission at
various courts and was glad to give up the business of
an ambassador and return to Antwerp and to the
life of a private gentleman. We must not forget that
all these years Rubens was painting a great number of
pictures in his ripest style. There was hardly a class of
subjects or size of canvas which he could not skillfully
use, although he always maintained that he could do
his best work on large surfaces. There were religious
pictures of Madonnas and saints all crowded with
numerous figures and filled with vigorous human action.
There were portraits such as those of his wives, of
Elizabeth of France, or The Girl with a Straw Hat,"
which rank among the best of the world. There were




wonderful animal pictures- hunting scenes, the excite-
ment of which even to-day makes the cheek glow. There
were historical scenes mingled with allegory. There
were most beautiful children-whose fat and agile bodies
and whose laughing faces make us want to hug them.
There were enchanting angels, and there were huge fauns
and satyrs. There were placid landscapes where, it may
be, the artist's soul, teeming with the life of all time, took
its rest and recreation sporting with the nymphs of the
woodland streams or with the frisky dryads of the trees.
In 1630, at the age of fifty-three, he married his
second wife, Helen Fourmont, only sixteen years old.
Like his first wife she was very beautiful, as his numerous
portraits indicate. Five children came to them and the
felicity of his early years with Isabella Brandt continued
with his second wife.
The health of our painter gradually gave way. For
many years he had suffered intensely from repeated
attacks of gout. As he aged, these became more and
more frequent and severe. Often the disease, working
in his fingers, kept him from painting. The Death
of St. Peter was painted for Cologne Cathedral in
1635. It seems as if in his last years his heart turned
affectionately to the city of his boyhood home and he
would thus commemorate it. Another picture belongs
to these last years. It was a family picture which he


called St. George." It represented four generations
of the painter's family and included both his first and
his second wife. He himself figured as the Saint, clad
in shining armor and triumphant over his late enemy,
the deadly dragon. Rubens was too great to be con-
ceited, but he stood at the end of a most successful life.
If ever a man had conquered the dragon of dissapoint-
ment, that lies crouching at the door of every life,
Rubens had. He did well to represent himself as St.
George. In both of these last pictures the painter
shows at his very strongest.
He died May 30th, 1640, and was buried in the
church beside his mother and his first wife. All the
city attended his funeral, for in three capacities they
mourned their illustrious citizen -as an artist, as a
diplomat and scholar, and as a man of noble character.
Two years after his death the picture St. George"
was hung above his tomb where it is found to-day.
He left great wealth which was largely represented
by his collection of pictures and jewels. There were
three hundred and nineteen paintings, all masterpieces.
The collection sold for what would be in our money about
half a million dollars. This is a large sum at any time
but in Rubens' day it was well nigh fabulous.
Rubens has left us more than fifteen hundred pictures
bearing his name. That any man could leave so many


can be accounted for only by reckoning many of them
as largely executed by his pupils. He used to make
small sketches in color and hand them over to his pupils
for enlargement. He was always at hand to make
corrections and, at the end, to give the finishing touches.
He used to charge for his pictures according to the time
he used in painting them, and he valued his time at
fifty dollars a day.
He shows none of the mystical visionary feeling of
the Spaniards even in his religious pictures. He was
too much in love with life for that, and so, sometimes, we
are offended by stout Flemish Saints and Madonnas too
healthy to accord with our notions of their abstemious
lives. In his pictures there is spirited action, almost excess
of life, and rich unfading color in which the reds largely
prevail. His lights are fine but the deep, expressive
shadows that made Rembrandt famous are entirely lack-
ing. The softly flowing way in which the color leaves
his brush is, perhaps, the most inimitable part of his art.
On this account someone has said, who evidently has
great reverence for both Velazquez and Rubens, that
we will see another Velazquez before another Rubens.
Considering the qualities of his art, the number of his
pictures, his scholarship, his eminence as a diplomat and
his pure and honorable life, we must place Rubens
among the very greatest men who ever wielded a brush.


Rubens was par excellence the painter of the group that
included the heroes of the Dutch Republic; and, like many of
his contemporaries, whilst excelling in his own line, he was, in
other respects a'so, a great man, in a time of and among great
men. CHAS. W. KETT.

I cannot sufficiently admire his personal appearance nor praise
his uprightness, his virtue, his erudition and wonderful knowledge
of antiquities, his skill and celerity of pencil, and the charm of
his manner. A CONTEMPORARY.

His eye is the most marvellous prism that has ever been given
us of the light and color of objects, of true and magnificent

1. A Day in Rubens' Studio.
2. An Evening with Rubens.
3. Rubens at the Monastery.
4. A Day with Rubenb in London.
5. Rubens as a Diplomat.
6. Antwerp, the Home City of Rubens.
7. Rubens and His Friends.
8. The Women Rubens Loved.
9. My Favorite Picture by Rubens.
10. The Masters of Rubens.


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