Rubens and His Age: Treasures from the Hermitage Museum Russia

Overview

Rubens was the most important and creative Flemish artist of the seventeenth century, attaining wealth, property, rank and international acclaim, not only in the arts but also as an active participant in the world of politics and diplomacy. Painting was just one expression of his genius: he was also a highly respected scholar, connoisseur and collector, and designed prints, books, tapestries, sculpture and some of Antwerp's famed ceremonial architecture. As political and cultural barriers fell, he and his ...
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Overview

Rubens was the most important and creative Flemish artist of the seventeenth century, attaining wealth, property, rank and international acclaim, not only in the arts but also as an active participant in the world of politics and diplomacy. Painting was just one expression of his genius: he was also a highly respected scholar, connoisseur and collector, and designed prints, books, tapestries, sculpture and some of Antwerp's famed ceremonial architecture. As political and cultural barriers fell, he and his contemporaries, including Anthony van Dyck and Jan Brueghel, travelled throughout Europe when a new demand for Flemish painting arose. As a result, they produced works of art specifically for a wide variety of foreign patrons that included the different European courts, the Church and the most prominent private collectors of the age.

Catherine the Great of Russia sent her advisers throughout Europe in search of prestigious art collections, and they procured nearly everything on the market that caught their eyes. Her acquisitions were considerably more than the expression of her personal tastes: they were a vita component of official Russian policy. Catherine's sensational, nearly annual purchases were intended to demonstrate Russia's wealth and prosperity to the world. The result is that the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg owns one of the world's most comprehensive collections of seventeenth-century paintings and drawings from Antwerp, where Rubens and his circle, including van Dyck, Jan Brueghel, Jacob Jordaens and Frans Snyders, formed a close-knit artistic community, the hub of a network of influence that spanned the Continent.

Presented here are the jewels of the Hermitage's collection of Flemish Baroque paintings and drawings, including Rubens's monumental allegory The Union of Earth and Water, as well as a remarkable selection of objets d'art, some of which were either owned, designed or commissioned by Rubens himself. Lavishly illustrated in full colour throughout, Rubens and his Age represents an unprecedented opportunity to explore one of the world's finest collections of European art.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This catalog of an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition of Flemish masterpieces from the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg is a useful addition to the literature on Flemish art. Christiane Gottler (art history, Univ. of Washington) provides an overview of 17th-century Flanders, and brief essays by Hermitage curators discuss paintings by Rubens and his followers, paintings by other Flemish masters, drawings, and decorative arts. Each work is illustrated in color (rather dead and overall too orange in most cases), with catalog entries aimed more at the scholar than the general reader. Nevertheless, this book documents a very rich part of the Hermitage Museum collection (much of it gathered by Catherine the Great, with many objects from Rubens's own collection) that merits close study. The drawings and decorative arts that form about a third of the exhibition have not been widely accessible. For advanced art history collections. Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781858941271
  • Publisher: Merrell Publishers, LTD
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.89 (w) x 11.29 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Table of Contents

Sponsor's Foreword 6
Director's Foreword 8
Director's Foreword 9
Art and Visual Culture in Seventeenth-Century Flanders 11
Flemish Paintings from the Age of Rubens in the Hermitage Museum 27
Rubens and his Followers 34
Flemish Masters Outside the Circle of Rubens 36
Seventeenth-Century Flemish Drawings in the Hermitage: Eighteenth-Century Taste and Collecting 141
Seventeenth-Century Decorative Arts in Flanders and Russia 183
Works in the Exhibition 242
Bibliography 251
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2001

    A SUMPTUOUS BANQUET OF MAGNIFICENT ART

    His subjects were vast; his output was prodigious; his vitality seemed unlimited. Not only was Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens considered the leading northern European painter during his day, but his gifts were so great that he also designed tapestries, book illustrations, festival decorations, church decorations, and in later life began a series of over 100 mythological pictures for a hunting lodge. Thanks to the avaricious acquisitions of Russia's Catherine the Great an impressive assortment of Rubens's work is displayed in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. And, thanks to the bountifully illustrated (175 in color) and precisely annotated volume 'Rubens and His Age,' these glories are also available to art lovers and armchair travelers. Many of these artworks belonging to the Hermitage have never before been seen in publication, including the stunning allegory 'The Union Of Earth And Water.' In addition many art objects which Rubens either owner, designed or commissioned also decorate the pages of this keepsake volume. 'Rubens and His Age' is a feast, a sumptuous banquet of magnificent art.

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