For the birthday of Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens 1577 born in Siegen, Germany –1640 died in Antwerp, Belgium

Siegen. If, like Thomas Kellner, you come from Siegen or live there, you will certainly have heard the name of Peter Paul Rubens. He has a great international significance. Even today, the artist is remembered on the anniversaries of his birth and death. 

Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen on June 28, 1577. He was a painter, etcher and draftsman. He was also a diplomat of the Spanish-Habsburg crown of Flemish origin and is one of the most famous painters of the Baroque period. Peter Paul Rubens was already perceived as a great artist during his lifetime and employed a large number of students in his workshop. This workshop achieved an extraordinary degree of fame throughout Europe. In addition, he had an enormous influence on painting, especially French, Flemish and English. 

His first encounter with art took place after the death of his father, Jan Rubens, in 1587. His mother Maria Pypelincks moved with him and his siblings to Antwerp. There he began to study art intensively from 1592. After some time he became a student of the Dutch Romanists Tobias Verhaecht, Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen. In 1598 he became a freemaster in the Antwerp painters' guild. He then traveled to Italy in 1600 to study Italian painting. Meanwhile, he was appointed court painter in Mantua by Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga of Mantua. This event was to be the beginning of his extremely successful career as an artist, as his appointment as court painter was followed by further stays in Paris and Spain. It was at this time that he created one of his most famous works: The Erection of the Cross, from 1610. 

Due to prolonged suffering from gout, Peter Paul Rubens died in Antwerp on May 30, 1640.

Even after his death, Peter Paul Rubens remained one of the most influential artists. His creativity and talent are reflected in his works. He is one of the most important artists of the Baroque era and his vision will continue to shape art in the future.

Since 1957, the city of Siegen has awarded the Rubens Prize in his honor to a living European painter for his life's work.

Rubens Prize Laureate:

1957 Hans Hartung
1962 Giorgio Morandi
1967 Francis Bacon
1972 Antoni Tápies
1977 Fritz Winter
1982 Emil Schumacher
1987 Cy Twombly
1992 Rupprecht Geiger
1997 Lucian Freud
2002 Maria Lassnig
2007 Sigmar Polke
2012 Bridget Riley
2017 Niele Toroni'
2022 Miriam Cahn