Rubens in private
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication date: July 6, 2015
Number of pages : 280 pages
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Michelangelo considered portraiture a trivial genre, and neither did Peter Paul Rubens develop an immediate preference for it. Yet Rubens succeeded like no other in giving his portraits an almost palpable sense of immediacy, and went on to become one of the greatest portraitists of all time. His most beautiful and surprising portraits are those of his immediate family. These intimate images were not intended for public display, and are therefore considerably freer and more experimental than the portraits he painted of influential patrons. Nothing in these private images seems idealized. They are uncommonly honest and truthful, while at the same time expressing great tenderness. While the hundreds of letters he wrote reveal very little about his emotional life, Rubens' portraits of family members bear particular witness to the affection he felt for his first and second wives, his brother and his children.