An artist of European dimension…
Born near Cologne, living in Antwerp after a long period in Italy, and active in the courts of Spain, France and England, Rubens (1577-1640) was an artist of European dimension. A renowned artist but also a diplomat, letter writer and entrepreneur, his work was very much determined by the European context at a political, social, religious and economic level.
The first international exhibition at the Louvre-Lens aims to shed light on Rubens' time, through over 170 artworks by the artist, by those who influenced him and by some of his contemporaries, from the Louvre's collections and from leading European and American museums.
For the sake of clarity, the exhibition is organised into 6 themes:
- The Europe of courts (rooms 1 and 2)
- Religious emotion and baroque faith (room 3)
- Ephemeral monumentality (room 4)
- Rubens, emulation and competition (room 5)
- Rubens and the Republic of Letters (room 6)
- The paths of genius (room 7)
At the heart of the exhibition is a room in which a film about Rubens' travels is screened, co-produced by the Louvre-Lens and Le Fresnoy - National Studio for Contemporary Arts (in Tourcoing). Directed by Alain Fleischer, it gives a sense of the multiplicity of places known to Rubens, comparing old and contemporary views of European Cities. Another room evokes the artist's correspondence through a sound and visual system, to which visitors are invited to contribute by reading extracts from Rubens' letters.
The exhibition is curated by Blaise Ducos, curator of the Department of Paintings at the Louvre museum, a specialist in Flemish and Dutch paintings, with the assistance of Jahel Sanzsalazar, art historian. The scientific committee is chaired by Marc Fumaroli of the Collège de France, and includes Paul Huvenne, KMVKA Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Jeroen Duindam, University of Leyden, Arnout Balis, Rubenianum Antwerpen, and David Jaffé, former curator of the National Gallery in London.
The exhibition is designed by Studio Adrien Gardère (Paris).
The exhibition has benefited from special support from the Caisse d'Epargne Nord France Europe.