Germany (Westphalia) 1577 – Belgium (Flanders) 1640
Materials & Technique: paintings, oil on canvas
PLEASE NOTE: this work is on long term loan at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney more information
Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most important Baroque artists in the seventeenth century. He was also a successful courtier and diplomat who represented the Spanish Netherlands in the courts of Europe. Rubens has painted himself in full court dress to emphasise his status as a gentleman of Antwerp. The painting is a triumph of naturalism. The development of oil paint in Northern Europe in the fifteenth century meant that artists were able to obtain greater control over colour and tone. In this self-portrait, Rubens’ high-keyed skin tones are contrasted against a dramatic, almost theatrical backdrop — the artist’s quizzical stare seems to acknowledge the artifice of painting.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra