Peter Paul Rubens, Venus Frigida, 1614, KMSKA, Antwerp.

Exhibition 'Rubens and his Legacy. Van Dyck to Cézanne'

The exhibition Rubens and his Legacy. Van Dyck to Cézanne looks at the impact of Rubens on the art of painting. The show is co-curated by the Rubens specialist and curator of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA) Nico Van Hout. In 2014 the show was on view at BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts) in Brussels, it now opens at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most innovative painters in the history of art. His impact on subsequent generations has been immense. The KMSKA, the Royal Academy of Arts in London and BOZAR Brussels have joined forces to look at Rubens as a role model. The Rubens and His Legacy exhibition brings together over 160 works, including some iconic paintings by Rubens himself and works by his artistic heirs.

It is a paradox that Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is both inimitable and has served, for four centuries now, as the great model for painters such as Rembrandt, Murillo, Watteau, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Delacroix, Cézanne, Renoir, Kokoschka, and many others, often far beyond the frontiers of Europe. Even in the work of Picasso, we encounter his visual language.

Many Rubens works are sensational: loud, forceful, and sometimes violent, created in the service of Catholic propaganda and of absolutist rulers. With his almost cinematographic depiction of aggression, fighting, and barbaric scenes, Rubens could be called the Quentin Tarantino of his time. But he is also a sensual painter in his informal family portraits, landscapes and pastoral scenes, peasant dances and gardens of love, in which he was a precursor of rococo, Romanticism, and Impressionism. A great many talented artists were captivated by his use of composition, colour, and technique and developed flourishing careers by following his example.

The exhibition takes the visitor through six fascinating themes that explore different aspects of life and of the painter's art: violence, power, lust, compassion, elegance, and poetry. Each of these chapters demonstrates the links between masterpieces by Rubens and the work of artists who came after him. 

Rubens and His Legacy. Van Dyck to Cézanne has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp and BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts), Brussels. The exhibition is curated by Dr Nico Van Hout and Dr Arturo Galansino Curator (Royal Academy of Arts, London).

Rubens and his Legacy. Van Dyck to Cézanne
January 24 2015 - April 10 2015
Royal Academy of Arts, London
More info

(News Item January 21 2015)