press release

The exhibition tells the remarkable story of Rubens's dramatic ascension from working as a pupil of a minor Antwerp artist, to become the dominant international painter of his time.

It will be the most thorough explanation of the flowering of his genius ever attempted. The story traces his hesitant beginnings in Antwerp (1598-1600) to his eight-year study trip to Italy (1600-1608), where he embraced the Renaissance greats of Michelangelo and Raphael and the revolutionary style of Caravaggio.

A dazzling group of Genoese portraits from 1606 marks Rubens's irresistible bravura with the brush. These offer the exciting opportunity to focus on works that are by his hand alone, undiluted by any workshop assistance.

The culmination of the show is a group of heroic images Rubens created from his ambitious amalgam of sources on returning to Antwerp (1609-1614). These include 'Samson and Delilah' and 'The Massacre of the Innocents', works that were last seen together in Rubens's studio.


Rubens: A Master in the Making
Peter Paul Rubens